Anti-government protests in Iran reach fourth week

SOLIMANIA, Iraq (HPD) — Anti-government protests erupted across Iran on Saturday, as the largest demonstrations in years against a deeply entrenched theocracy entered their fourth week. At least two people died.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans and twirled veils in protest against coercive religious dress codes. In some areas, merchants closed their stores in response to a call by activists for a trade strike or to protect their businesses.

Protests erupted on September 17 following the burial of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in the custody of Iran’s feared morality police. Amini had been arrested for an alleged violation of strict Islamic dress codes for women. Since then, protests have spread across the country and have been met with a fierce crackdown, in which dozens are estimated to have been killed and hundreds arrested.

In the city of Sanandaj, in the northern Kurdish-majority region, a man was shot dead on Saturday while driving a car on a major road, human rights monitors said. The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network and the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said the man was shot after honking his horn at security forces stationed on the street. Honking has become one of the ways activists have expressed their civil disobedience. A video circulating on social media shows the slain man slumped over the steering wheel, as distraught witnesses scream for help.

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is believed to have ties to the elite paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards, reported that Kurdistan’s police chief denied reports of the use of live ammunition against protesters.

Fars said people on Pasdaran Street in Sanandaj said the victim was shot from inside the car, without offering further details. However, the photos of the dead man indicate that he was shot from his left side, which means that he was probably not shot from inside the vehicle. Blood can be seen oozing from the inside of the driver’s side door.

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