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Protesters defy repression at Iranian universities | Iran

Students protested at universities across Iran, defying a bloody crackdown as tensions rose on the eve of planned ceremonies marking 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s death.

“A student can die but will not accept humiliation,” chanted protesters at Shahid Chamran University in Ahvaz, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, in an online video verified by the AFP.

Young women and schoolgirls have been at the forefront of protests sparked by Amini’s death last month, after he was arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

The 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died three days after being taken into custody by the notorious morality police on September 13 while traveling to Tehran with her younger brother.

Activists said security services had warned Amini’s family against holding a ceremony and not asking people to visit his grave on Wednesday in Kurdistan province or “they would have to worry for the life of their son.

Wednesday marks 40 days since Amini’s death and the end of the traditional mourning period in Iran.

State news agency IRNA released a statement believed to be from the family, saying that “given the circumstances and in order to avoid any unfortunate issues, we will not be holding a ceremony marking the 40th day.”

Activists said the statement was made under pressure and tributes were nonetheless expected at Amini’s grave.

Online videos showed students protesting on Tuesday at Beheshti University and Khaje Nasir Toosi University of Technology, both in Tehran, as well as Shahid Chamran University in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province.

The new protests came after activists accused security forces of beating schoolgirls at the Shahid Sadr Girls Vocational School in Tehran on Monday. “Students at Sadr High School in Tehran were attacked, strip searched and beaten,” social media channel 1500tasvir said.

At least one student, Sana Soleimani, 16, had been hospitalized, said 1500tasvir, which chronicles rights abuses by Iranian security forces. “Later, the parents protested in front of the school. Security forces raided the neighborhood and fired at people’s homes,” he added.

The Department of Education said a dispute had arisen between schoolgirls and their parents and school staff after the headmaster asked them to follow rules on using mobile phones.

“The death of a student in this confrontation is strongly denied,” said a spokesman for the ministry, quoted by the Iranian news agency ISNA.

Families were seen demanding information outside the school in Tehran’s Salsabil district, in an online video verified by AFP.

Such reports have fueled new anger over the crackdown, which the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) says has claimed the lives of at least 141 protesters.

Deadly unrest has hit Amini’s home province of Kurdistan in particular, but also Zahedan in the far southeast, where IHR said 93 people were killed in protests that erupted on September 30 in following the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander.

Despite what rights group Amnesty International called a “brutal and relentless crackdown”, young women and men were seen protesting again in online videos on Tuesday. “Death to the dictator” and “Death to the Revolutionary Guards”, chanted women in Tehran metro stations, in videos shared on Twitter.

Amnesty says the crackdown has claimed the lives of at least 23 children, while IHR said on Tuesday at least 29 children were killed.


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