DUBAI, Oct 2 (Portal) – Iranian lawmakers chanted “thank you police” during a parliamentary session on Sunday to show their support for a crackdown on widespread anti-government protests over the death of a young woman in police custody.
The protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini of Iranian Kurdistan, have spiraled into the largest opposition demonstration against Iranian authorities in years, with many calling for the end of more than four decades of Islamic clerical rule.
Lawmakers swore allegiance to the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and chanted, “The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader,” showed a video shared in Iran’s state media.
According to a report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, at least 52 people died in the attack. According to the Iranian authorities, many members of the security forces were killed by “rioters and thugs supported by foreign enemies”.
Khamenei has not commented on the protests, which began at Amini’s funeral on September 17 and quickly spread to Iran’s 31 provinces, drawing all strata of society, including ethnic and religious minorities.
Several prominent soccer players who are stars in Iran and across Asia, including former Iran national team captain Ali Daei, have criticized the crackdown on protesters. Some social media posts suggested that Daei was banned from leaving Iran. Portal could not confirm the report.
The protests have not abated despite the mounting death toll and a crackdown by security forces using tear gas, truncheons and, in some cases, live ammunition, according to videos on social media and human rights groups.
Videos on social media showed demonstrations in several cities including Kermanshah, Shiraz and Mashhad on Sunday, with participants shouting “independence, freedom, death for Khamenei”.
Activist Twitter account 1500tasvir, which has more than 160,000 followers, posted video of protesters in downtown Isfahan calling for a nationwide strike and setting up a roadblock to rally truck drivers into their ranks. Portal could not verify the videos.
Iranian state media shared a video of pro-government students gathering at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad chanting, “The Islamic Republic is our red line.”
DEATH IN COMA
Amini was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “inappropriate dress” by the Vice Police, which enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. She died in hospital three days later after slipping into a coma.
Amini’s family lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told semi-official news website Etemadonline that “respectable doctors” believe she was beaten in custody. Amini’s autopsy report and other medical details were not released, but her father said he saw bruises on her leg and other women detained with her said she was beaten.
Iranian police authorities say Amini died of a heart attack and deny she was beaten to death in custody.
The country’s hard-line president, Ebrahim Raisi, has ordered an investigation into Amini’s death. He said last week that a forensic report would be presented in “the coming days”.
Amnesty International reported on Friday that 52 people were killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested during the protests. Iranian state media said last week 41 people had been killed, including security forces.
Amini’s death and crackdown have drawn international criticism of Iran’s rulers, who in turn have accused the United States and some European countries of exploiting the unrest to try to destabilize the Islamic Republic.
Iran said last week it had arrested nine people from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries over their role in the protests.
writing by Parisa Hafezi; Edited by Kirsten Donovan and Frank Jack Daniel
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