File photo of Iranian women wearing protective masks to prevent contracting a coronavirus, as they walk at Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran February 20, 2020. — Reuters pic
PARIS, Nov 12 – Iranian activists behind protests over Mahsa Amini’s death called on Saturday for major demonstrations next week, marking three years since a bloody crackdown on unrest sparked by fuel price hikes.
The call to commemorate those slain in the 2019 protests on Tuesday comes as Iran grapples with more than eight weeks of nationwide demonstrations that erupted over Amini’s death in custody.
“Let us gather on November 15 and conquer one of Tehran’s highways. The streets are ours,” said a notice from anonymous activists published on Twitter by women’s rights campaigner Negin Shiraghaei.
Similar calls were issued by anonymous youth activists in the cities of Ahvaz, Babol, Isfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz, among others.
“We will start from high schools, universities and markets and continue with neighbourhood-centred gatherings to move to main squares of cities,” they said, quoted by London-based Iran International television.
The wave of 2019 protests known as “Bloody Aban” – or Bloody November – was triggered by a surprise overnight announcement hiking the price of fuel by as much as 200 percent.
The days of unrest in Iran from November 15 saw police stations attacked, shops looted and banks and petrol stations torched as authorities imposed a week-long internet blackout.
Amnesty International said at least 304 people were killed in the unrest that quickly spread to more than 100 urban centres across the Islamic republic.
A tribunal convened in London this year by various human rights groups said expert evidence suggested the actual number killed was likely far more, and possibly even as high as 1,515.
The anonymous youth groups behind the latest calls for protests have been mobilising since the death of Amini on September 16, after she fell into a coma following her arrest for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said on Saturday that security forces had killed at least 326 people so far in the ongoing crackdown on the Amini protests.
The unrest was fanned by fury over the dress rules for women, but has grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. – AFP