The Daily Telegraph

At least eight dead in Iran as anti-government protests spread

Crowds clash with police in more than a dozen cities after death of woman said to have broken hijab rules

- By Ahmad Vahdat

A “POLICE ASSISTANT” and several demonstrat­ors have been killed during anti-government protests in Iran, according to officials and state media, as videos showed people flipping police cars and overpoweri­ng officers.

Clashes between protesters and riot police spilled over into more than a dozen cities yesterday as the unrest entered a sixth day.

Four police officers were injured, state media said, and at least eight people are believed to have died so far.

Videos on social media appeared to show protesters attacking police vehicles and surroundin­g isolated officers, who try to fight them off.

In one scene, a police car is flipped over to raucous cheers from the crowd, while in another, protesters appear to charge towards a group of riot police.

Slogans of “death to the dictator” and “we do not want the rule of the mullahs” can be heard in some of the videos, as the target of the protests extends beyond the mandatory hijab rules that sparked them.

In one clip, protesters appear to surround and overpower a police officer brandishin­g a Taser.

Protests took place in the holy cities of Qum and Masshad, the power bases of the ruling Islamic regime. The unrest began on Friday over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.

Activists said she was beaten, suffering a fatal blow to the head, a claim denied by officials who said they were investigat­ing.

Videos uploaded to social media a day earlier showed women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in protest.

Analysts say it is hard to predict where the protests will lead but precedent suggests that a violent crackdown may follow.

Meanwhile Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, gave another speech yesterday, following reports that he was seriously ill, having not been seen in public for weeks.

Speaking to a group of military commanders he did not mention the ongoing protests.

At the United Nations General Assembly, Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian president, accused the West of “double standards” on women’s rights.

“We have this double standard where attention is solely focused on one side and not all,” he said, pointing to deaths of Indigenous women in Canada and Israeli actions in the Palestinia­n territorie­s.

At the same event James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, told journalist­s: “The Iranian leadership should notice that the people are unhappy with the direction that they have taken. There is another path that they could take.”

 ?? ?? An Iranian expat with a picture of the dead woman, Mahsa Amini, cuts off her hair in a protest outside Tehran’s consulate in Istanbul
An Iranian expat with a picture of the dead woman, Mahsa Amini, cuts off her hair in a protest outside Tehran’s consulate in Istanbul

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