DUBAI, UAE – Female students in Tehran chanted “get lost,” according to activists, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited their university campus on Saturday, October 8, and condemned protesters enraged by the death of a young woman in custody.
As nationwide demonstrations that have rocked Iran entered a fourth week, Raisi addressed professors and students at Alzahra University in Tehran, reciting a poem that equated “rioters” with flies.
“They imagine they can achieve their evil goals in universities,” state TV reported. “Unbeknownst to them, our students and professors are alert and will not allow the enemy to realise their evil goals.”
A video posted on Twitter by the activist 1500tasvir website showed what it said were women students chanting “Raisi get lost” and “Mullahs get lost” as the president visited their campus.
An Iranian state coroner’s report denied that Mahsa Amini had died due to blows to the head and limbs while in police custody and linked her death to preexisting medical conditions, state media said on Friday.
Amini, an Iranian Kurd, was arrested in Tehran on September 13 for wearing “inappropriate attire”, and died three days later.
Her death has ignited nationwide demonstrations, marking the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years.
Women have removed their veils in defiance of the clerical establishment, while furious crowds called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The government has described the protests as a plot by Iran’s enemies including the United States, accusing armed dissidents – among others – of violence in which at least 20 members of the security forces have been reported killed.
Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested by security forces confronting protests.
After a call for mass demonstrations on Saturday, security forces shot at protesters and used tear gas in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj and Saqez, according to the Iranian human rights group Hengaw.
In Sanandaj, capital of the northwestern Kurdistan province, one man lay dead in his car while a woman screamed “shameless,” according to Hengaw, which said he had been shot by security forces after he honked his horn as a sign of protest.
But a senior police officer repeated the claim by security forces that they did not use live bullets and that the man had been killed by “counter-revolutionaries” (armed dissidents), the state news agency IRNA reported.
‘Woman, life, freedom’
Hengaw also carried a video of emergency personnel trying to resuscitate a person and said one protester had died after being shot in the abdomen by security forces in Sanandaj. Reuters could not verify the video.
One of the schools in Saqez city’s square was filled with school girls chanting “woman, life, freedom,” it reported.
The widely followed Tavsir1500 Twitter account also reported shootings at protesters in the two northwestern Kurdish cities.
A university student who was on his way to join protests in Tehran said he was not afraid of being arrested or even killed.
“They can kill us, arrest us but we will not remain silent anymore. Our classmates are in jail. How can we remain silent,” the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.
Widespread strikes are taking place in the cities of Saqez, Diwandareh, Mahabad and Sanandaj, said Hengaw. – Rappler.com