Iran's Security forces attacked protesters Saturday after the burial of a young woman who died following a brain injury while in the custody of hijab police.
Footage from social media shows riot police directly aiming to fire at protesters and throwing stones at them outside the city governor's office where they had gathered chanting anti-government slogans. Gunshots are clearly heard in videos posted on social media which also show the use of tear gas against protesters.
Originally from Saqqez in Kurdistan Province, the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, known as Zhina to family, collapsed at a detention center two hours after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran. She passed away Friday afternoon at Kasra Hospital in northern Tehran.
A hospital source told Iran International Saturday evening that her brain tissue had been seriously damaged because of multiple blows to the head and there was no chance of surgery.
The source said authorities demanded that she be kept alive for longer than 24 hours to circumvent a legal requirement for an investigation by the coroner.
According to social media reports, several protesters were injured with shotgun birdshots. In one of the videos protesters are seen rushing a young man with head injuries to a nearby hospital. He has been identified as Kian Derakhshan and is still in hospital in critical condition.
Hengaw Human Rights Organization, a Kurdish rights group, has identified another young man seriously wounded by security forces in Saqqez as Parsa Sehat.
Protesters in Saqqez chanted “Down With the Dictator” and “Our Shame, Our Foolish Leader” at the burial ceremony attended by thousands of locals and later outside the governor’s office and a large banner with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s photo was set on fire.
“Zhina was martyred. She was martyred for all the young people of this country and has opened the road to freedom for all of us,” her aunt wailed and cried in Kurdish at her grave as seen in one of the videos posted on social media. “Our darling Zhina, you will not die. Your name will become a symbol,” a temporary stone to mark the young woman’s grave read.
Activists say the family resisted pressure from security and intelligence forces who wanted to bury their daughter under the cover of darkness to avoid a gathering of people at the cemetery where many of the female participants in the ceremony later removed their headscarves and waved them chanting slogans against compulsory hijab.
Social media reports also indicate that security forces fired tear gas at protesters in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan Province, where thousands of angry residents took to the street Saturday evening to protest the young woman’s death in custodyand against forced hijab for which she was arrested.
According to social media reports, the government has dusruptd internet access in the Kurdish cities of Saqqez, Baneh, Marivan, and Sanandaj. Global internet watchdog Netblocks also said Friday evening it had registered a significant internet outage in Tehran with real time network data showing connectivity at 67% of ordinary levels amid protests over Amini’s death in the capital which could affect coverage of events on the ground.