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Iranians stage fresh anti-government protests despite security crackdown

Iranian Anti-Government Protesters (Fars News Agency/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian protesters have staged new anti-government protests in several neighborhoods of the capital, Tehran, in a continued show of defiance amid unrest over the death of a young woman while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.

Protesters in Tehran’s Jannat Abad neighborhood showed the depth of their anger toward the government’s infringement of their civil liberties with chants from windows and rooftops of “Freedom, freedom!” and “Death to the dictator,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Tehran’s Ekbatan neighborhood, which has been one of the epicenters of protests in the Iranian capital for the last four months, protesters once again chanted anti-government slogans amid reports that security forces have set up checkpoints at the entrances to the area while also continuing widespread arrests of residents.

Similar scenes were repeated in other neighborhoods of Tehran, as well as in parts areas of the country, including Yasuj, Rasht, and Bandar Abbas.

Several videos published on social media showed people setting fire to government propaganda banners in Yasuj in the southwest of the country.

Images published from the northern city of Rasht also show anti-government slogans written on the walls in several neighborhoods.

The unrest was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. The 22-year-old died while in custody after being arrested by the notorious morality police for improperly wearing a mandatory Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

Her death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of anti-government protests in cities across the country. The authorities have met the unrest with a harsh crackdown that rights groups say has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children.

Officials, who have blamed the West for the demonstrations, have vowed to crack down even harder on protesters, with the judiciary leading the way after the unrest entered a fourth month.

The protests pose the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

Several thousand people have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.