Many families of protesters fallen during the recent anti-government protests marked the New Year (Nowruz) at the side of the graves of their loved ones this year.

“My son was a hero. He was martyred for his country … Unity is the key to our victory,” said Zhila Khakpour in an Instagram post taken at the side of her son’s grave at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery on Thursday.

Zhila’s 25-year-old son, Ali Seyedi, was shot dead by security forces at a protest rally in Parand, a town 30km to the south of the capital Tehran, on November 4. In the video she posted, she felicitated Iranians for the coming of the new Iranian year and thanked them for supporting the family during their ordeal.

Jila Khakpour at her son’s grave vowing to avenge his killing.

“Everyone says they will avenge you. God willing, we will avenge the bloods of all of you. My darling, I will never let your blood to be trampled on,” she says sitting next to the grave and caressing the image of her son engraved on the stone.

Iranians usually visit the graves of their loved ones on the last Thursday of the year. They wash the graves, adorn it with flowers and candles, and distribute sweets and fruits to those visiting the cemetery but this year the visits have continued into the holiday season with people chanting anti-government slogans and vowing to take revenge in several cases.

Local people and family marking the New Year at Mahsa Amini’s grave.

Hours before the turn of the year, a large crowd gathered at the grave of Mahsa (Jina) Amini in Saqqez in northwestern Iran. The twenty-two-year-old’s death in the custody of the morality police on September 16 sparked a wave of protests across the country that lasted for months.

Videos posted on social media show participants in the ceremony bearing torches and flowers to her grave, singing Kurdish mourning songs and stamping their feet.

People chanting “Down with the Dictator” at the grave of young chef, Mehrshad Shahidi in Arak

In photos widely shared on social media, a little girl Bavan is seen standing at her mother’s grave in Mahabad at Nowruz. The young woman, Fereshteh Ahmadi, was shot in Mahabad on the roof of her house while watching the protests with her little girl. Her grave, like many others in Kurdish areas of Iran, is draped in red tulle and is adorned with red flowers to show that she was martyred.

Some other photos posted on social media show the friends and classmates of the ten-year-old Kian Pourfalak at the side of his grave thousands of kilometers away, in Izeh in southwest Iran, shortly before the turn of the year Monday.

Kian was shot by plainclothesmen in the family car in November during a night of protests in Izeh. His father, Meysam Pirfalk has been confined to a wheelchair after months of hospitalization and several surgeries but his mother, Zeynab Molaei-Rad and his three-year-old brother Radin were unharmed in the attack.

People in Izeh chanting against Khamenei and IRGC at the grave of Kian Pourfalak before the turn of the year.

The government has arrested several citizens it accuses of “terrorism” for the shooting, but Zeynab insists it was the security forces that killed her son. In a fiery speech at her son’s burial, she said she had no doubt about who had shot her family and implicitly accused Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of responsibility for her young son’s killing.

There were dozens of children and teenagers among the over 500 killed during the protests across Iran, either as protesters or bystanders. The deaths of the children caused protesters to dub the regime as “child-killer”.

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