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Iranian authorities want ‘even tougher’ approach to ongoing protests

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In Iran there are still massive demonstrations against the strict regime in the country. Yesterday, new protests broke out: people shouted slogans against the religious leaders at several universities and in the Kurdish region in the northwest. Dozens of people were again injured as a result of police action. Meanwhile, authorities are calling for an even tougher approach.

One of the protests took place yesterday following the death of Nasrin Ghaderi, a student who died the day before after being beaten in the head by police during protests in the capital Tehran. The cause of death has so far been denied by authorities.

In the city of Marivan, Nasrin was commemorated and buried. That happened without ceremony, because the authorities were afraid of demonstrations. Despite this, according to the Norwegian human rights organization Hengaw, a lot of police came to the area, who later opened fire. At least 35 were injured. Protests continued in other cities, including Tehran.

For almost two months, since the death of the arrested Kurdish Mahsa Jina Amini, there have been massive demonstrations in Iran for women’s rights and more freedom. The police are cracking down on this and, according to human rights organizations, at least 318 people have already died, including 49 minors. Thousands of people have also been arrested. Four of them could face the death penalty.

The Iranian authorities now want protesters to be dealt with even harder and given higher sentences. An open letter, signed by a large majority of parliament, says they must be “learned a good lesson” to deter others.

The general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard already warned last week that the protests against the regime must stop. “Stop this bad behavior. This rebellion will end badly for you. Don’t throw away your future!” he addressed young protesters.

WHAT HAPPENED TO MAHSA JINA AMINI?

Mahsa Amini, 22, whose real first name is Zhina or Jina (Kurdish for ‘life’), was violently arrested on September 13 by the vice squad in the Iranian capital Tehran. The police check whether everyone follows the religious rules of the government and arrest women when they do not wear their headscarves (properly), walk in ‘trousers’ or otherwise do not comply with the dress code. This was also the reason for Mahsa’s arrest and therefore she would be taken to an ‘education center’ at the police station.

According to eyewitnesses, Mahsa was assaulted by the police. She died a few days later. Authorities claim she died of ‘sudden heart failure’, but according to her family and witnesses, Mahsa went into a coma from blows to her head and had already been declared brain dead on arrival at the hospital. A United Nations commissioner demanded an investigation into the death.

PROTESTS

Since Amini’s death, major protests have erupted against the strict Islamic regime in Iran. Not only because of whether or not to wear a headscarf, but for more women’s and human rights in general. Iranians take to the streets en masse, shouting slogans against the government and women ban their headscarves and cut their hair. Local authorities are taking strong action against this: human rights organizations report many arrests, injuries and even deaths.

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