Iran Protests Mount as Authorities Continue Violent Crackdown

(Bloomberg) -- Protests swelled in cities across Iran late Tuesday, according to social media videos, following a day of general strikes marking the anniversary of one of the deadliest uprisings in the country’s history.

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Scores of unverified videos shared on Twitter purportedly showed protests in multiple districts across the capital, Tehran, and in other cities like Shiraz, Esfahan, Hamedan, Bushehr, Bukan, Rasht and Sanandaj.

Sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, the protests are now in their ninth week and represent one of the strongest public rebukes against the Islamic Republic and its leadership since the 1979 revolution.

The Kurdish rights group Hengaw Human Rights Organization said two men had been killed by security forces during protests in the Kurdish town of Kamyaran in western Iran on Tuesday.

Footage showed security forces responding with force. One video taken from the platform of a Tehran metro station, showed commuters screaming and trying to run as they were being fired on by security forces.

A barrage of shots could be heard even as trains were leaving and approaching the platform.

Another video purportedly from Shiraz showed someone being shot at close range by an armed and uniformed security officer.

None of the videos can be verified by Bloomberg News.

The latest action comes after nationwide calls for three days of strikes and protests to mark the three-year anniversary of the deadly protests that were sparked by fuel prices.

Earlier Tuesday, hundreds of businesses shuttered, students rallied and some industry workers went on strike, according to social media videos, to commemorate those killed in the November 2019 protests.

Some 320 people have been killed by security forces and at least 15,000 have been arrested since the current protests started Sept. 17, according to Oslo-based Iran Human rights.

Underscoring the harsh extent of the state’s response, a second person was sentenced to death Tuesday for taking part in demonstrations, according to a statement published by the judiciary’s official news portal, Mizan Online.

London-based rights group Amnesty International said it was investigating the death sentences and called on the United Nations to take urgent action. The violent tactics led the European Union to announce fresh sanctions on Iran’s police and military on Monday.

Most of Tuesday’s protests erupted after dark. In Tehran, unverified videos showed gatherings and rallies in Enghelab Square, in the heart of the capital, Gisha, Tehran Pars, Ekbatan Town, Sadeghiye and the affluent Shahrak-e Gharb district.

People are heard shouting “death to the dictator” or singing “freedom, freedom, freedom” in many of the clips.

Young people were also shown forming a human chain in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas and protesters also gathered in Bushehr. Footage showed many people coming out in their cars and honking car horns in solidarity, creating gridlock on some of Tehran’s busiest main streets.

--With assistance from Patrick Sykes.

(Updates with details about protests, latest reports of deaths and reports of police violence throughout)

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