Unrest across Iran Saturday and the opposition’s show of strength were followed by more protests Sunday in some cities including Tehran, Sanandaj, and Mahabad.
Kurdish towns and cities in western Iran were restless all-day Sunday, after government agents killed two men in Sanandaj the previous day. This fueled more intense protests in the city and Security forces resorted to the full use of military weapons Sunday night.
Social media reports spoke of an undetermined number of people killed and wounded among protesters. One protester tweeted, “We pushed them back and it feels like a revolution”.
Security forces, mainly the Revolutionary Guard, were firing automatic weapons till the early hours of Sunday in Sanandaj, a city that was one of the first to rebel in mid-September after the now iconic face of the protests, Mahsa Amini was killed after being arrested the by the notorious ‘morality’ police.
Gunfire in Sanandaj, Sunday, October 9
Protesters also took to the street again in the evening in Tehran’s southern working-class areas such as Shahrak-e Vali Asr and Nazi Abad where angry protesters turned out in such huge numbers that astonished everyone, including security forces who feared the situation could get totally out of control if they interfered. Protesters torched a building used by the IRGC-linked Basij militia which are always deployed to suppress protests.
Social media reports say in Nazi Abad security forces fired shotguns to disperse a group of protesters who were chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to prevent the crowd from coalescing.
In other places such as Tehran’s western Ekbatan neighborhood, a massive apartment complex, people chanted “Down with the Dictator” even louder than previous nights and called on the “silent-ones” to join the protests.
Disturbing footage on social media Sunday of security forces vandalizing private cars on thee streets.
The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization (IHR) reported Saturday a death toll of 185 in the protests that started three weeks ago, including at least 19 children, across the country with the highest number of killings in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan province where half the deaths have been recorded.
There is no reliable information on the number of the wounded as most of those injured in the protests are not taken to hospital for fear of being arrested.
Several protesters were killed during the protests Saturday including at least two young men in Sanandaj, capital of Kordestan Province. One of the victims, Yahya Rahimi, was shot in the head inside his car because he was honking his horn in support of the protesters on the street.
Students also continued their strike and further protests Sunday in several universities in Tehran as well as Rasht, Arak, and Qazvin during the day.
Students, both in universities and secondary schools, also tried to consolidate some of the ground they have gained. Women and girls continue to refuse to wear headscarves. In a university in Tehran men and women broke the forty-year segregation taboo as they had promised, taking over the canteen, and chanted “Don’t be mistaken and think it’s only today. We’ll be doing this everyday!”
Activists have reported pressure and intimidation on secondary school girls in some areas for refusing to wear headscarves and chanting anti-regime slogans. In some schools children have been threatened with expulsion. Security forces reportedly tried to enter some schools Sunday to arrest students but faced resistance from the children, who booed them and chanted “Women, Life, Freedom”, as well as their parents.
There are some unconfirmed reports of disobedience among security forces. Hardliner lawmaker Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, an IRGC general, on Sunday threatened security forces of consequences if they did not “fulfil their duties” during the crackdown on popular protests.