Overnight protests rock Tehran, other Iranian cities, videos show

Feb 17 (Reuters) – Protests rocked Iran again overnight on Thursday after appearing to subside in recent weeks, with marchers calling for the overthrow of the Islamic republic, online video footage showed on Friday.

The marches in a number of cities, including Tehran, which started on Thursday evening and continued into the night marked 40 days since the execution of two protesters last month.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini were hanged on 8 January. Two others were executed in December.

The protests that have swept Iran began last September after 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died in custody for violating the hijab policy, which requires women to cover their hair and body completely.

Videos on Friday showed demonstrations in several neighborhoods in Tehran as well as in the cities of Karaj, Isfahan, Qazvin, Rasht, Arak, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Qorveh and Izeh in Khuzestan province.

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Reuters was able to confirm three of the videos about the protests in Zahedan and one of them in Tehran.

An online video purportedly from the Shiite holy city of Mashhad in the northeast showed protesters chanting: “My martyred brother, we will avenge your blood.”

Other videos showed large protests on Friday in Zahedan, the capital of southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, home to Iran’s Baluchi minority.

Meanwhile, the judiciary said a court had dismissed and jailed a police chief accused of raping a girl. The

the incident sparked anger ahead of protests on September 30 that faced an attack in Zahedan in which at least 66 people were killed, according to Amnesty International. read more

The long wave of unrest has posed one of the strongest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its revolution in 1979. Women have openly defied hijab rules, waving and burning their scarves or cutting their hair.

While the unrest appeared to have subsided in recent weeks, likely due to the executions or repression, acts of civil disobedience have continued.

Nightly anti-government chants reverberate across Tehran and other cities. Youths spray graffiti at night denouncing the Republic or burn pro-government advertisements or signs on main roads. Unveiled women appear in streets, malls, shops and restaurants despite warnings from officials.

Many of the women among the dozens of recently released prisoners have posed unveiled in front of cameras.

The authorities have not backed down on the mandatory hijab policy, a pillar of the Islamic Republic.

In recent weeks, Iranian media have reported the closure of several businesses, restaurants and cafes due to non-compliance with hijab rules.

Last week, Iranian officials asked unions for stricter enforcement of hijab regulations in Tehran’s shops and businesses.

“Falsely” veiled female students were warned last month that they would be barred from entering Tehran University, while local media reported that around 50 students were prevented from entering Urmia University in the northwest for violating hijab rules.

Rights activists say more than 500 protesters have been killed since September, including 71 minors. Almost 20,000 are detained. At least four people have been hanged, according to the judiciary.

Karami, a 22-year-old karate master, and Hosseini were convicted of killing a member of Basij’s paramilitary force militia.

Amnesty International said the court that convicted Karami relied on coerced confessions. Hosseini’s lawyer said his client had been tortured.

Two others were executed on 8 and 12 December respectively.

Five female activists who were released Thursday said they owed their freedom to the solidarity of “the freedom-loving people and youth of Iran,” according to social media posts.

“The day of freedom is near,” they said in a statement.

dubai.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Angus MacSwan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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