Iranian state group marchers call for execution of ‘thugs’

A police motorcycle burns during a protest after a woman died after being arrested by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” in Tehran, Iran, September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

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  • Call for execution of thugs
  • Woman’s death sparks mass protests
  • Army issues stern warning

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – State-organized demonstrations took place in several Iranian cities on Friday against anti-government protests over the death of a woman in police custody, with some marchers calling for executions “thug”.

The demonstrations followed the strongest warning yet from the authorities, when the army told the Iranians that it would confront the “enemy” behind the unrest – a move that could herald the kind of crackdown that has crushed protests in the past.

Demonstrators denounced anti-government protesters as “Israeli soldiers”, state television broadcast live. They also chanted “Death to America” ​​and “Death to Israel,” common slogans used by the country’s civilian rulers to try to stoke support for the authorities.

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“Those who violate the Koran must be executed,” the crowd chanted.

Iranians have staged mass protests over the case of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died last week after being arrested by ethics police for wearing “inappropriate clothing”.

Amini’s death reignited anger over Iran’s restrictions on personal freedoms, strict dress codes for women and an economy teetering on sanctions.

The Iranian army’s message on Friday, seen as a warning to protesters angered by the death, read: “These desperate actions are part of the enemy’s nefarious strategy to weaken the Islamic regime.”

The military said it would “confront the various conspiracies of the enemy to ensure the safety and peace of those who have been unjustly attacked.”

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Allawi also warned “demagogues” on Friday that their “dreams of defeating religious values ​​and great achievements of the revolution will never come true,” according to the Asir Iran website.

The protests were particularly intense in and around Amini’s hometown of Kurdistan. Two consignments of weapons, explosives and communications equipment were seized and two people were arrested in northwest Iran, including the home of Kurdish dissident armed groups along the border with Iraq, state television said.

Internet blocking watchdog NetBlocks said on Twitter that Iran’s mobile internet has been disrupted for the third time. “Real-time metrics show leading cellular operator MCI losing connectivity nationwide,” it said.

Twitter accounts linked to the anonymous “hacker activist” expressed support for the protests and said they had attacked 100 Iranian websites, including several belonging to the government. In recent days, the websites of the central bank, Supreme Leader Khamenei and several state-affiliated news agencies have been compromised.

Security forces under attack

Iran’s civilian rulers fear a resurgence of protests that erupted in 2019 over rising gasoline prices, the bloodiest in Iranian history. According to Reuters, 1,500 people were killed.

Protesters in Tehran and other cities burned police stations and vehicles during the latest unrest, as anger over Amini’s death showed no sign of abating, with reports of attacks on security forces.

Iranian media reported on Thursday that 288 “thugs” had been arrested.

In Madrid, four topless activists from the Femen women’s movement protested Amini’s death in front of the Iranian embassy on Friday, holding up signs reading “Women, life, freedom” and “Martha Amini assassinated” ‘ slogan.

The protests went on peacefully and no arrests were made.

In Athens, angry protesters demonstrating over Amini’s death tried to approach the Iranian embassy on Thursday but were pushed back by shield-wielding police. Demonstrators chanted slogans and held placards that read “Homophobic and sexist killings.”

Canada and the Netherlands also held protests over Amini’s death on Thursday.

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Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy, Editing by Alex Richardson, Angus MacSwan, William Maclean and Andrew Heavens

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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