Monday , 28 November 2022

Day 19: Growing Support from European Parliament and Gucci for Iran Protests

Iranwire – On Wednesday, October 5, Iranian people turned out on the streets against the government for the nineteenth consecutive day. Unlike previous days when students protested in schools and universities, due to an official holiday in the Iranian calendar, educational centers were closed.

At the same time, news published from Zahedan shows that the number killed in the protests in the city on Friday, September 30 and subsequently has continued to rise. Halvash news agency, which reports on human rights violations in the south-eastern province, said 91 people had died in the protests. Earlier, an informed source told IranWire that the IRGC had turned Zahedan into a battlefield.

Fars news agency and the “20:30” news program aired an interview Wednesday with the aunt of Nika Shakarami, a teenager killed in the protests, backing the security forces’ account of her niece’s death. They claim the 16-year-old was thrown from the top of a half-finished building, a claim the family has previously disputed. Social media users said Shakarami’s interview was a “forced confession”.

What happened on the 19th day of Iranian people’s protests, which began with the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police, but quickly turned into the biggest anti-government protests in the existence of the Islamic Republic?

Suspicion that attack in Zahedan was pre-planned

On Saturday, October 1, the official channel of the office of Molavi Abdolhamid, the spiritual leader of Iran’s Sunni population, published a statement on Telegram, in which he gave details of the attack on Zahedan’s Friday prayer on Friday.

These details are different from the scenario painted by the Islamic Republic authorities who claimed that the protesters attacked the police station first and then the police shot them. Molavi Abdolhamid’s channel has emphasized the authenticity of his initial statement by denying the news attributed to him in the official news agencies of Iran, including IRNA and Fars news agencies.

According to this statement, security agents and military forces of the Islamic Republic were prepared to attack citizens attending Friday prayers and other protesters outside police station number 16.

In the statement of the Sunni Friday prayer imam of al-Sunan Zahedan, it is stated: “Minutes after performing the Friday prayer, when the worshipers stayed in the mosque as usual to perform Sunnah and Nafl prayers, a gunshot was heard. Later, it was found that a small number of young people had gathered in front of the police station near the mosque and chanted slogans after prayers, and some of these young people threw stones at the police station.”

Pointing to the attack of the forces against protestors, Molavi Abdolhamid continued: “According to the reports that reached us, the forces of the special unit, which were apparently already stationed in the police station, fired live bullets. They shot, not only at the young people who had gathered in front of the police station, but also from the police station building into the mosque and at those who were praying; tear gas was thrown at the men and women, so that one of the praying women was martyred.”

Videos are sent out with a delay

Although Wednesday was a holiday on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari, the 11th Imam of Shiites, new videos of protesting students have been published. Some footage of protests from earlier days was published on social networks with a delay for the first time, due to the slow speed of the Internet.

In a video that was published for the first time on Wednesday from Sanandaj University of Medical Sciences, students are seen chanting: “Sharif is not alone, Sanandaj supports it.” These students were referring to the attack of the special forces who shot at the students in the library and parking area of Sharif University of Technology, which was accompanied by widespread arrests of the students of the university.

A video of Shariati Technical and Vocational Girls’ University has also been published, the date of which is not known, but it is clearly seen that security officers are pushing female students and violently trying to prevent them from holding a gathering.

With the closure of the universities, there have been reports of threats to the students of Yazd University who had held a rally in support of the protesters in the courtyard of the university in the past few days. The students said that university officials contacted their families and started pressuring and threatening the students, saying that if the students continued their gatherings, the university would have no responsibility to protect them.

At the same time, on Wednesday, videos of high school girls’ protests from the previous days in different cities of Iran were published, in which they protested against the status quo by taking off their hijab and chanting slogans such as “Woman, Life, Freedon.”

In videos from Sanandaj and Kermanshah, female students take off their veil and chant slogans against the government and the systematic violation of women’s rights.

A video of a speech by a male student from one of Iran’s schools has been published, asking why they should study while people are being killed.

On Twitter, a number of female students reported their verbal confrontation with the IRGC and Basij forces, who were invited by the schools to give speeches to justify the status quo. A user wrote about the incident that happened in their school on Tuesday and explained that after challenging the invited guard, students left the lecture hall and chanted slogans of “Women, Life, Freedom” and “Death to the dictator” in the corridor.

Protests continues in the street

Despite the widespread suppression of protesting citizens, videos sent from Iran indicate that protests continue in dozens of Iranian cities, including Karaj, Isfahan, Qom, Tehran, Talesh, Kermanshah, Shiraz, and Noorabad Mamsani.

In Noorabad Mamsani in Fars province, Mosala Square was set on fire.

In Tehran and Isfahan, women chanted slogans against the government by removing their headscarves until the morning of October 6.

In Tehran, videos have been published from the area of ​​Saadat Abad, Tajrish Square and Shariati Street.

In Isfahan, a video of the protest around Jolfa Street has been published. In another, three young women are seen on a pedestrian bridge, hanging a banner in support of Iranian women’s protests on which was written “One of us is next”, and taking off their scarves.

In Talash in Gilan province people protested by lighting fires in the street.

People in Karaj also came to the streets on Wednesday evening. In a video, special unit forces are seen attacking the protesters with a motorbike and people stand up against them chanting slogans.

Broadcasting confessions of Nika Shakrami’s aunt and uncle

The news of the death of Nika Shakarami has been widely published in Iran and in foreign media in recent days. Nika was a 16-year-old girl who participated in protests on September 20 near Keshavarz Boulevard in Tehran and then disappeared. Nika’s family searched for her for 11 days until they discovered her body in a detention centre. Her face and skull were broken, apparently by multiple blows.

Her aunt, Atash Shakarami, said that Nika’s body had been “kidnapped” by security forces and buried secretly in a remote village.

But pressure was then put on the family to say that Nika had not been in custody and had not been killed by security agents. The pressure apparently succeeded. Nika’s aunt and uncle appeared on the “20:30” TV news program on Wednesday. The program is known in Iran and among human rights activists as a platform for broadcasting forced confessions.

Social media users warned about the violation of the rights of the grieving family and the pressure on them.

Continued global support for Iranian protesters

On October 5, the European Parliament submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations in which it called for an independent international investigation into human rights violations in Iran. The European Parliament resolution also asks Iran to appoint an independent international body to investigate the murder of Mahsa Amini.

The European Union had previously announced the review of proposals to impose new human rights sanctions against institutions and officials of the Islamic Republic.

On Wednesday, Hossein Amirabdollahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, talked with the Foreign Minister of Italy, who took the lead in presenting these proposals and one of whose citizens was recently arrested in Iran on charges of involvement in the protests. Amir Abdollahian called the imposition of new human rights sanctions against the Islamic Republic an “intervention” and threatened that the Islamic Republic would take “reciprocal action”.

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic senator from the state of Vermont who campaigned to be the party’s candidate for the US presidential election in 2016, has also supported the protests of the Iranian people. In a tweet, Sanders wrote: “It takes enormous bravery to go to the streets to protest Iran’s authoritarian “Supreme Leader.” But, led by courageous young women, that’s exactly what’s happening. I stand with all of those Iranians who are demanding freedom and a better future.”

More than 600 German cultural figures declared their support for Iranian women and protesters in an open letter on Wednesday. Referring to the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police, it stated: “The voice of the feminist revolution in Iran is loud and clear. We see your courageous resistance, we hear your determined voice and we admire your courage and resistance.”

French actors have also announced their support for Iranian women in statements and videos. Juliette Binoche, a well-known French actress and more than 50 French actors and singers, cut her hair with scissors in a video in solidarity with the “haircut” campaign of Iranian women.

Jess Phillips, a senior Labour member of the British Parliament, tweeted: “The women in Iran are warriors. They are inspiring the world every day, such bravery, such resistance. They are not second class citizens.”

Famous global fashion and clothing design brands, Balenciaga and Gucci, defended and supported the protests of Iranian women to achieve their freedom and right, by publishing posts and stories on their Instagram pages.

The famous brand Balenciaga, which is based in Paris, deleted all its Instagram posts and published only one post with the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in Persian and English. Balenciaga has 14 million followers on Instagram.

Gucci, another well-known brand in the fashion scene, also published and wrote a story on its Instagram page with the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” and said, as a fashion house and through the campaign, they defend gender justice and stand alongside every Iranian woman stands.