Iranian protesters and workers held demonstrations and strikes across the country to mark a traditional mourning ceremony for Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish-Iranian woman whose death in police custody sparked nationwide unrest.
Crowds gathered at the cemetery where Ms Amini was buried on the outskirts of Saghez in Iran’s Kurdistan province, with the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency estimating the number of demonstrators at about 10,000. The internet was shut down in the area for security reasons, it added.
A video posted on Twitter by Oslo-based Iran Human Rights showed people walking down a four-lane road purportedly toward the cemetery. The footage could not be verified by Bloomberg.
The Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network, a non-governmental organisation, said protests then moved to outside the city governor’s office and public squares, with security forces firing bullets and tear gas.
Wednesday’s rallies followed thousands of posts on Twitter, Instagram and Telegram calling for large demonstrations to mark 40 days since Ms Amini’s death, a traditionally important stage in the mourning process in Iran.
Strikes were reported in a number of cities including Tehran, where workers at the state-managed Tehran Oil Refining Company staged walkouts, according to an unverified video posted on Twitter. Workers returned to work after getting assurances from managers that unspecified “union issues would be resolved”, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing a refinery spokesman.
The site, on the southern outskirts of the capital, can refine 250,000 barrels of crude a day.
The Hengaw Organisation for Human Rights said seven Kurdish cities in the country’s west had gone on complete strike, with all businesses and schools shuttering for the day. They included Saghez, where Ms Amini is buried and where the protests first kicked off during her funeral on September 17th.
Strikes and gatherings have also been reported in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province and the site of some of the most violent crackdowns on protesters by security forces.
Late on Tuesday, Hengaw said that Iranian football legend Ali Daei, who has been vocal in his support of the protests, had travelled to Saghez in order to attend ceremonies at Ms Amini’s grave but was detained overnight by security forces at his hotel and was being kept at a government guest house.
Ms Amini died on September 16th after she fell into a coma when the so-called morality police arrested her for allegedly flouting Islamic dress codes while on a trip to Tehran with her family, sparking one of the fiercest public rebukes of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
Authorities have sought to crush the demonstrations by force, targeting protesters with shotguns, stun guns, pepper spray and batons. Thousands have been arrested and at least 400 people are set to stand trial on broad national security charges.
The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights said on Tuesday that it had confirmed the deaths of 234 protesters so far, including 29 children, all killed by security forces. — Bloomberg