DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — At least nine people have been killed since violence erupted over the weekend in clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody. , according to a data released on Thursday. By the Associated Press.

The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in years, remains unclear as protesters in at least a dozen cities – venting anger over social repression and the country’s mounting crises – continue to face security and paramilitary forces. are kept

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Widespread blocking of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government’s crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday. Authorities also appear to be disrupting Internet access to the outside world, a tactic rights activists say the government often uses in times of unrest.

In a country where radio and television stations are already under state control and journalists regularly face the threat of arrest, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard urged the judiciary on Thursday to “fake” social media reports about the unrest. “Spreading news and rumours” should be prosecuted.

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The protests in Iran were sparked by the death of Mehsa Amini, a young woman who was arrested by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating a strictly enforced dress code. His death has been strongly condemned by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Police say she died of a heart attack and was not abused, but her family doubts that. Independent UN-affiliated experts said on Thursday that reports suggest that the ethics police severely beat him without presenting evidence. He demanded an impartial investigation to hold the culprits accountable.

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Over the past four days, the protests have turned into an open challenge to the government, with women taking to the streets to remove their state-mandated headscarves and burning Iranian trash cans, and the fall of the Islamic Republic itself. are demanding.

“Death to dictator!” is a common cry in the protest.

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Protests have rocked university campuses in western cities as far away as Tehran and Kermanshah. Although widespread, the unrest appears to be separate from the earlier round of nationwide protests sparked by pocketbook issues as Iran’s economy falters under heavy U.S. sanctions.

The unrest that erupted in 2019 over the government’s sudden hike in petrol prices mobilized working-class people in small towns. Hundreds of people have been killed in the crackdown by security forces, the deadliest violence since the 1979 Islamic revolution, according to human rights groups.

Iranian state media reported hundreds of protests this week in at least 13 cities, including the capital Tehran. Videos online showed security forces firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests. London-based Amnesty International reported that officers also fired birdshot and metal pellets and beat protesters with batons.

Footage circulating on social media from the northern city of Tabriz shows a young man allegedly being shot by security forces as protesters scream for help.

At least nine people have been killed in the clashes, according to an AP count based on statements from Iran’s official and semi-official media. In a statement Thursday, the Guard blamed the unrest on “enemies of Iran,” saying “their coup will fail.”

In Amini’s home province of Kurdistan in the northwest, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire. In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, insisting the shots were not fired by Iran’s security forces.

Some protesters targeted the security forces. Three people affiliated with Basij, a volunteer force under the Guard, were killed in clashes in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, semi-official media reported, with authorities on both sides putting the death toll at a minimum. It’s nine.

In Mashhad, the state-run IRNA agency reported that a policeman was hospitalized with severe burns after protesters attempted to set it on fire.

Independent UN experts say at least eight people, including a woman and a 16-year-old boy, have been killed in the clashes, with dozens injured and arrested.

The clashes have left a path of destruction. In Mazandaran province along the Caspian Sea coast, angry mobs damaged or set fire to more than 40 government properties and injured 76 security personnel, Deputy Governor Ruhollah Solgi said on Thursday.

As the protests spread, authorities shut down the internet in parts of the country, according to NetBlocks, a London-based group that monitors internet access, and the bans were similar to the mass protests of November 2019. The latter are considered the most severe.

Iran has been hit by waves of protests in the recent past, particularly over a long-running economic crisis caused by Western sanctions linked to its nuclear program. Iranians also blame government corruption and mismanagement for rising commodity prices, currency devaluation and unemployment.

The Biden administration and European allies have been working to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in which Iran halted its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, but negotiations have been stalled for months.

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