Twelfth Night Of Protests In Iran As Professors Join Outcry Over Death Of Woman Arrested For Hijab Violation
By RFE/RL's Radio Farda September 28, 2022
Iranians on September 27 staged a 12th straight night of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini despite a growing death toll and a fierce crackdown by security forces.
Widespread protests continued in various cities, including Tehran, Tabriz, Karaj, Qom, Yazd, and many other Iranian towns and villages more than a week after Amini, 22, died while she was in the custody of the morality police for allegedly wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, improperly.
Scenes showing street clashes with security have been posted on social media, but activists said an Internet blackout was making it increasingly tough to share videos.
"Iran remains under Internet/mobile blackouts but some videos are still getting out," said the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.
The semiofficial Fars news agency said that "around 60" people had been killed since Amini's death on September 16, up from the 41 reported on September 24, but the Iran Human Rights group says at least 76 people have been killed.
State TV reported that a police officer died on September 27 in a hospital after being injured by rioters in the town of Robatkarim in Tehran Province.
Officials said they had made more than 1,200 arrests across the country, including the detention of activists, lawyers, and journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said at least 20 journalists are among those arrested.
Many students, high-profile activists, rights advocates, and intellectuals have also been arrested in recent days, including Majid Tavakoli and Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour.
The daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was arrested for inciting protests, the Tasnim news agency reported.
Students in Tehran and other Iranian cities have often chanted the slogan, "The streets are covered in blood; our professors are silent," during rallies in recent days.
Several Iranian university professors responded by refusing to participate in classes or by resigning.
Lily Galehadaran, a member of the academic faculty of the Shiraz Art University, was one of the first.
"I was interrogated many times in the Intelligence Department of Shiraz and Tehran, but I continued to teach because of the love of my students. But today I am resigning from my job because of the love I have for them," Galehadaran wrote in her resignation letter.
Ammar Ashuri, a professor who resigned from Tehran Azad University's faculty of art and architecture, said he had been pressured and threatened by university security officers because of the posts and stories he has posted on Instagram.
Nasrollah Hekmat, a prominent Iranian philosopher and philosophy professor at the Beheshti University, also joined the protesting students.
"Today, I consider myself your student and you are my teacher. Only God knows that in these few days, I have learned more from you than in my entire life," Hekmat wrote in a letter, adding that "as long as students are protesting, I will not hold any classes."
During a demonstration in the city of Qamishli on September 27, several women cut off their hair, threw it to the ground along with their head scarves, and set the pile on fire.
"Long live freedom. Women demand free life. Revolution is in our hands," the marchers chanted. "Women, life, freedom!"
State media branded the protesters "hypocrites, rioters, thugs, and seditionists," while state television said police clashed with "rioters" in some cities and fired tear gas to disperse them.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Iran to "end its use of violence against women for exercising what should be a fundamental freedom."
He told reporters in Washington that the United States stands with "all those who are exercising the universal right to peaceful protest."
Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador over the crackdown, Canada announced sanctions, and Tehran called in the British and Norwegian envoys.
A hard-line lawmaker slammed female protesters who have taken off their head scarves.
"These rioters are out to prostitute themselves," Mahmud Nabavian was quoted as saying by Fararu, a news website. He suggested that taking off the head scarf was akin to being naked in public to attract male attention.
Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamadani used more conciliatory language.
"It is necessary for officials to listen to people's demands and solve their problems and be sensitive to their rights," Hamadani said, according to IRNA.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP; Ardeshir Tayebi contributed based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-amini-protests- professors-crackdown/32054577.html
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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