Tehran (IRAN): Hours after counter-demonstrations were organized by the government, protests erupted in Iran for the seventh consecutive night on Friday in response to the murder of a young woman detained by the morality police.
An organization with its headquarters in Oslo called Iran Human Rights said that at least 50 people had been killed by security forces during the anti-government demonstrations, which is more than three times the official death toll of 17, which includes five security officers.
The death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd who had spent three days in a coma after being detained by the morality police in Tehran, who had reportedly spent three days in a coma, set off the street violence, which according to IHR has extended to 80 towns and cities.
The verified video circulated on social media showed significant protester gatherings in numerous Tehran neighborhoods after hours of government-sponsored rallies had dissipated.
Armed militia or anti-riot police confronted several of them.
In an effort to prevent protesters from assembling online and from photographs of the backlash reaching the outside world, Iran has enforced severe regulations on internet usage.
Fear of one's own people.
Days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk indicated he would seek an exemption from sanctions in order to sell his company's Starlink satellite service in the Islamic republic, the United States said on Friday that it was loosening export restrictions on Iran to boost internet services.
According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the additional restrictions will "help fight the Iranian government's efforts to spy and censor its citizenry."
He continued, "It is obvious that the Iranian regime is terrified of its own people.
At opposition protests organized by the government on Friday in Tehran and other cities, thousands of people demonstrated in favor of the hijab.
Iran's Mehr news agency reported that today, "the vast Iranian people's demonstration condemning the conspirators and the sacrileges against Islam."
State television showed footage of black chador-clad protesters for the hijab in central Tehran, including both men and women.
- Catastrophic clashes
Amini passed away on September 16, three days after being admitted to the hospital as a result of her arrest by the morality police—the department in charge of upholding the Islamic Republic's stringent dress regulations for women.
She allegedly received a blow to the head while in jail, but the Iranian authorities contradict this and have launched an investigation.
After she was declared dead, irate demonstrations broke out in her home province of Kurdistan as well as other major cities like Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Tabriz.
Hengaw, a second rights organization located in Oslo, reported that the most recent violence occurred on Friday night in the city of Bokan in the province of West Azerbaijan. This Kurdish organization's report was unable to be independently verified.
Videos posted online show protesters burning a sizable billboard with the image of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the city of Babol in the northern Mazandaran region.
The unconfirmed video purported to show demonstrators torching a Basij militia base on Ferdowsi Street in the center of Tehran. It wasn't immediately possible to confirm it.
Video footage that went viral on social media showed some female protesters resolutely taking off their hijabs and burning them in bonfires or symbolically cutting their hair in front of cheering crowds.
According to state news agency IRNA, protesters have stoned security personnel, burned police vehicles, and screamed anti-government chants.
According to social media videos that also show protestors bleeding excessively, the government has retaliated with live bullets, pellet guns, and tear gas, according to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
A "curfew-style pattern of disturbances" has been observed in the restriction of internet access, according to the online monitoring service NetBlocks.
According to NetBlocks, "online platforms remained constrained, connectivity is sporadic for many users, and mobile internet was disrupted for a third day on Friday."
According to Iran's Fars news agency, actions were taken in response to "the operations carried out via these social networks by counter-revolutionaries against national security."
At a news conference in New York, where he was attending the UN General Assembly, President Ebrahim Raisi remarked on Thursday: "We must distinguish between demonstrators and vandalism."
The disturbance occurs at a delicate moment for the government because the Iranian economy is still struggling due to US sanctions over its nuclear program.