Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Tehran [Iran], October 2 (ANI): At least 92 people have been killed nationwide in Iran amid protests over the death of a 22-year old Mahsa Amini in police custody, media reports said citing the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO.

"The international community has a duty to investigate this crime and prevent further crimes from being committed by the Islamic Republic," reported an Abu-Dhabi-based daily The National News quoting IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

After the death of Amini on September 16, protests have erupted across Iran and has is in their third week. There have been widespread rallies and strikes throughout the country's Kurdish region on Saturday, reported The National News.

The protests, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan, have become the biggest show of opposition to Iran's clerical authorities since 2019, with dozens killed in the unrest. As per the last reports, about 83 people were confirmed dead in the protests.

Demonstrations have been witnessed outside Iran too as many in London, Rome, Madrid and, other western cities in solidarity with Iranian protesters, holding pictures of Amini, who died three days after she was arrested by the morality police for "unsuitable attire," reported the media portal.

Iranian protesters and police had a violent confrontation in southeastern Iran. The confrontation happened as worshippers from Iran's Sunni minority left Friday prayers at the Makki Grand Mosque in Zahedan, capital of Sistan and Balochistan province, reported Voice of America (VOA).

Footage shows men apparently bleeding from wounds being carried by others and placed on the ground as onlookers try to render first aid. One video filmed from inside the mosque shows worshippers walking to the exits and then running as apparent gunfire is heard outside.

Other clips apparently from surrounding streets show a man running and throwing a stone, a police vehicle on fire, and people watching as more gunfire is heard in the distance, reported VOA.

Dubai-based Iranian dissident Habibollah Sarbazi, who serves as secretary-general of the Balochistan National Solidarity Party, told VOA Persian that some worshippers joined an anti-government protest at a nearby police station and threw stones. Police responded by opening fire.

Sarbazi, whose group is one of several fighting for the rights of Iran's ethnic Baloch minority, said he learned about the confrontation from what he called reliable sources inside Iran. He said those sources told him the protesters were angered in part by allegations earlier this month that a police official at the station had sexually assaulted a teenage girl, reported VOA.

Another semiofficial news agency, Tasnim, said one of those killed was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence commander of Sistan and Balochistan province, Seyyed Ali Mousavi. Iranian state media described the protesters as terrorists and separatists and accused them of firing weapons at police.

The Iranian opposition-led Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) told VOA that its sources inside Iran estimated that at least 40 protesters were killed and at least 20 security personnel were wounded.In the past two weeks, Iranian authorities and rights activists have reported the killings of dozens of people including some security personnel as the government cracks down violently on mostly peaceful nationwide protests, reported VOA.

Initial public expressions of anger at Amini's death and Iran's decades-old mandatory public headscarf policy for women quickly evolved into Iranian protesters calling for more freedoms and the death of Iran's Islamist rulers.

In recent years, Sistan and Balochistan province has seen occasional confrontations between Iranian security forces and armed groups including anti-government Baloch rebels and gangs engaged in smuggling across Iran's border neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan. (ANI)

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