TEHRAN: Iranian security forces have clashed with protesters who had gathered in their thousands in Mahsa Amini’s home town to mark 40 days since her death.
“Security forces have shot teargas and opened fire on people in Zindan Square, Saqqez city,” Hengaw, a Norway-based group that monitors rights violations in Iran’s Kurdish regions, tweeted without specifying whether there were any dead or wounded. It said more than 50 civilians were injured by direct fire in cities across the region.
Witnesses confirmed shots were fired, while the Iranian government said security forces had been forced to respond to riots. Iran later tried to block internet access in the region.
The 40th day after a death traditionally marks the end of mourning, and appeals had gone out for protesters to take to the streets, a call that was answered in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad. Reports of teargas being fired in Iran were backed by video evidence.
Despite a ban by the security forces, the biggest gathering was in Amini’s home town of Saqqez in the western Kurdistan province. Amini died on 16 September, three days after she was arrested by the morality police for being dressed inappropriately. An official inquiry said she collapsed due to a pre-existing condition, an explanation rejected by Amini’s family, who have been prevented from choosing any doctors on the medical examination panel.
Mourners headed to Amini’s gravesite on Wednesday morning even though the security services had warned her family not to hold the ceremony, threatening that “they should worry for their son’s life”, according to activists. As many as 10,000 mourners attended, arriving on foot as well as in cars and on motorcycles.
“Death to the dictator,” mourners chanted at the Aichi cemetery outside Saqqez, before many were seen heading to the governor’s office in the city centre. Iran’s Fars news agency said about 2,000 people gathered in Saqqez city and chanted “woman, life, freedom”.