Thousands of People in Iran Clash as They Mourn the Death of Mahsa Amini 40 Days on

ISNA, a semi-official Iranian state news agency, said that fights broke out all over Iran on Wednesday when thousands of people went to Mahsa Amini’s grave in Saqqez, a city in the Kurdistan province, to mark 40 days since her death.

After a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman died on September 16 after being taken to a “re-education centre” by “morality police” for allegedly not following the country’s strict dress code, protests broke out all over the Islamic Republic.

On Wednesday, Iran held protests all over the country to mark 40 days since Amini’s death. This is an important day of mourning in both Iranian and Islamic culture.

According to state-run IRNA news, the unrest happened on the same day that at least 15 people were killed and 10 others were hurt in a “terrorist attack” at the Shahcheragh Shrine in the city of Shiraz in southern Iran. It’s not clear if the attack on Wednesday had anything to do with the protests.

ISNA reported that security forces “did not prevent” protesters from going to Amini’s grave in Saqqez, which is also where she was born. However, there were fights after people left the site.

“There were no clashes between mourners and police at the burial site, most were chanting Kurdish slogans, some moved towards the city with the intention of clashes, one of them raised the Kurdish flag,” ISNA said.

Large groups of people and long lines of cars can be seen in videos shared on social media heading to Saqqez’s Aichi cemetery, where Amini is buried. People in the videos can be heard chanting “women, life, freedom” and “death to this child-killing regime.”

Other videos show smoke billowing up from several fires in the streets of a nearby neighbourhood. As people march through the streets, gunshots can be heard in the background.

CNN has confirmed that a video shared by the Kurdish rights group Hengaw shows a large number of security forces in Saqqez on Tuesday night. This was after activists called for protests all over the country to mark 40 days since Amini’s death.

Netblocks, an organisation that keeps an eye on the internet, said on Twitter that the internet in Iran’s Kurdistan Province and Sanandaj has been almost completely down since Wednesday morning. ISNA, a state-run news source, said that after “outbreaks and scattered clashes,” the internet was cut off in Saqqez city for safety reasons.

In Iran, there is no law that says the government can’t stop religious ceremonies if it thinks they are dangerous. The government has banned and attacked religious ceremonies, citing safety concerns in the past. In other cases, the government has reached out to families to ask them not to hold public funerals.

IRNA, Iran’s state news agency, said that Amini’s family said in a statement that they won’t do anything to mark her death on Wednesday.

Kurdish rights group Hengaw said that security forces put a lot of pressure on the Amini family to write that statement. They also said that they threatened to arrest Amini’s brother if the procession went ahead.

Protests are Ongoing

On Wednesday, there were big protests in Tehran over Amini’s death and security forces fired tear gas at the crowds.

A video shared on social media showed protesters throwing rocks and setting trash cans on fire. In response, security forces were seen firing pellet guns.

In another video that was shared on social media, a group of protesters in Tehran who were said to be doctors and dentists were seen chanting “freedom, freedom, freedom!” In another video, tear gas is shot at them.

Anti-riot units from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were seen marching in Tehran on Wednesday as the protests got worse. This was seen on a video shared on social media.

The person taking the video says that earlier in the day, similar units fired on a group of doctors who were protesting in Tehran, scattering the crowd. In the video, it’s not clear what was being shot.

Protests have also happened at universities all over the country, like the University of Ferdowsi in Mashhad, Azad University in Karaj, the Islamic Azad University Science and Research Branch in Tehran and Azad University in Kerman.

IRNA reported on Wednesday that the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran said that classes for new students will “continue to be held virtually until further notice” because of “the persistence of some problems and the lack of a calm environment.”

As the protests continue, world leaders have spoken out against Iran’s use of force against peaceful protesters. On Wednesday, the United States put a bunch of new sanctions on Iranian officials who are taking part in the ongoing crackdown.

Sanctions will be put on the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ intelligence organisation and the IRGC’s deputy commander for operations, as well as two officials in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan, which the Treasury Department said was “the site of some of the worst violence in the latest round of protests.”

Officials at the White House say that the U.S. is worried that Russia may be giving Iran advice on how to crack down on public protests. This is because there have been fights in Iran to mark 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s death.

“We are concerned that Moscow may be advising Tehran on best practises, drawing on Russia’s extensive experience of suppressing open demonstrations,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Wednesday’s briefing.

“The evidence that Iran is helping Russia wage its war against Ukraine is clear and it is public. And Iran and Russia are growing closer the more isolated they become. Our message to Iran is very, very clear – stop killing your people and stop sending weapons to Russia to help kill Ukrainians.”

Experts from the United Nations asked for an independent international investigation of the crackdown.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the experts said that “an alarming number of protesters have already been detained and killed, many of whom are children, women and older persons.” They asked the government to tell the police to stop using excessive and deadly force.

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