Iranian lawmakers chant ‘thank you, police’ despite growing public outrage over woman’s death

Iranian lawmakers chant 'thank you, police' despite growing public outrage over woman's death
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DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Iranian lawmakers chanted “thank you, police” during a parliamentary session on Sunday in a show of support for the crackdown on widespread anti-government protests over the death of a young woman in police custody.

The protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini from Iranian Kurdistan, have become the largest demonstration of opposition to Iranian rule in recent years, with many calling for an end to more than 40 years of Islamic clerical rule.

In the video shared on the Iranian state media, the MPs who took the oath of allegiance to the supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chanted the slogan “The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader.”

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The Norway-based Iran Human Rights group said in a statement that “133 people have been killed in Iran so far, including more than 40 people.” He was killed in clashes in Zahedan last weekthe capital of the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Iranian officials did not disclose the death toll, but said many members of the security forces were killed by “rioters and thugs supported by foreign enemies.” Last week, state television said 41 people were killed, including members of the security forces.

Khamenei did not comment on the nationwide protests that started at Amin’s funeral in September. 17 and quickly spread to 31 provinces of Iran with the participation of all sections of society, including ethnic and religious minorities.

Several prominent football stars in Iran and Asia, including former Iranian national team captain Ali Daei, have criticized the crackdown on protesters. Some social media posts suggested that Daei was banned from leaving Iran. Reuters could not confirm the news.

Despite the death toll rising and security forces using tear gas, batons and, in some cases, live bullets on social media videos and rights groups, the protests have not subsided.

Videos circulating on social media showed students protesting at numerous universities and demonstrating in a number of cities such as Tehran, Yazd, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Shiraz and Mashhad on Sunday, with participants chanting slogans of “independence, freedom, death to Khamenei”.

1500tasvir, an activist Twitter account with more than 160,000 followers, posted a video of protesters in the central city of Isfahan calling for a nationwide strike and setting up a roadblock to rally truck drivers.

Reuters could not verify the videos. On Sunday, protests related to Ami’s death continued in many cities around the world.

Iranian state media shared a video of pro-government students gathering at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad chanting “Islamic Republic is our red line”.


Amin was arrested where on September 13 for “improper clothing” by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code in Tehran. He died in hospital three days after falling into a coma.

Amini’s family lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told the semi-official Etemadonline news site that “respectable doctors” think he was shot in prison. Amy’s autopsy report and other medical details have not been released, but her father said he saw bruises on her leg and that other women detained with her were beaten.

Iranian police say Amini died of a heart attack and deny he was beaten to death in prison.

The hard-line president of the country, Ibrahim Raisi, ordered an investigation into Ami’s death. He said last week that a forensic report would be submitted “in the coming days”.

Amnesty International said on Friday that hundreds of people had been injured and thousands arrested in the protests.

State media said at least 20 people were killed in the clashes in Zahedan and blamed a separatist group from the Baluchi minority for starting the shooting in the city.

Amin’s death and the crackdown have drawn international criticism from Iran’s rulers, who in turn accuse the United States and some European countries of using the unrest to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

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Written by Parisa Hafezi; Edited by Kirsten Donovan and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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