People took to the streets in many Iranian cities Sunday to condemn the execution of two more protesters and mark the anniversary of the downing of Flight PS752.
“We swear on our comrades’ blood, We will stand strong until the end,” in reference to the execution of Mohammad-Mehdi Karami, 22, and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, 39, who were hanged Saturday in Karaj, capital of Alborz Province to the west of Tehran, for allegedly killing Ruhollah Ajamian, a Basij militia agent during protests in November.
Karami’s family visited his grave Sunday and also lit candles and laid flowers at the grave of Hosseini who was also hanged. Hosseini who had no immediate family except his brother to receive his body, which was buried near Karami at the same cemetery.
Protests started in Najafabad on Sunday, a small conservative city in the central Esfahan Province. In Tehran students of Sureh and Beheshti universities protested and demanded the release of detained students chanting slogans against the government, the Revolutionary Guards, and its Basi militia.
The families of victims of a Ukrainian airliner shot down by two IRGC missiles in January 2020 gathered Sunday at the site of the crash, in Shahriar, southwest of the capital Tehran, while others protested at cemeteries in other cities including Saqqez in Kordestan Province, the Kurdish city of Mahahbad in West Azarbaijan province, and Bandar Anzali in the north to mark the anniversary of the tragedy that claimed the lives of all 176 onboard.
In Bandar Anzali security forces shut the gates of the local cemetery where one of the victims of the recent protests, Mehran Sammak, is buried and fired tear gas to prevent people from protesting there. “Down with the executioner republic”, people chanted in the streets of Bandar Anzali. “We swear on Mehran’s blood, We will not surrender before the end [of the regime]”, they vowed.
In several Kurdish cities such as Saqqez, Bukan and Kermanshah shops did not open Sunday as a gesture of solidarity with the protest movement.
In Tehran those who took to the street in the afternoon in several neighborhoods also chanted against the IRGC and its militia, the Basij, calling them “our Da’ish”, the Arabic acronym for ISIS. The slogan is in response to officials’ claims that Da’ish would have reached Iran from Iraq if it were not for the IRGC and its extraterritorial arm, the Qods Force, led by Qassem Soleimani.
Protesters chanted against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as Supreme Leader and in several cities – including various neighborhoods of Tehran, Bandar Anzali, Bandar Abbas, Esfahan, Sanandaj, Mahabad, Qazvin, Mashhad and Karaj – calling him a dictator and his government “child-killer”. “Poverty, corruption, unaffordable prices, We will continue until the toppling [of the regime]”, people chanted in Mashhad.
Protests in Tehran and some other cities continued with chanting from windows and rooftops as night fell.
Protesters Sunday reported extensive presence of “plainclothes” agents from the security and intelligence agencies on the streets who as usual made most of the arrests. Interior minister Ahmad Vahidi, however, on Sunday denied the existence of plainclothesmen and claimed that all police, IRGC and Basij forces on the streets wear in uniform.
In Esfahan, as everywhere else, security forces in plainclothes and in uniform attacked “anyone who was walking about” to prevent people from congregating. “They came into Maryam shopping arcade and beat the security guard, anyone who stepped forward was beaten,” Seda-ye Esfahan (Voice of Esfahan) reported on Twitter.
Protesters in Tehran and other cities also reported extensive use of tear gas and ‘birdshots’ which cause serious injuries. Many people have been blinded and even killed in the past four months by these shotgun shells.