On Monday, for the eighteenth consecutive day, there were major protests in several Iranian cities over the death of Mahsa Amini, which took place in a prison in Tehran on 16 September. After the demonstrations had reached the universities in recent days, and in particular the Sharif of Tehran, on Monday also high school boys, and in particular students, participated in the protests, who demonstrated by removing the Islamic veil (hijab) and chanting slogans against the theocratic regime that governs the country.
Following the violent crackdown unleashed on students at Tehran’s Sharif University last night, many universities have witnessed protests today.
At Isfahan’s University of Technology, students chant “freedom, freedom, freedom”.# مهسا_امینی #MahsaAminipic.twitter.com/jDOuRsMruE
– Shayan Sardarizadeh (@ Shayan86) October 3, 2022
In the videos of the protests on Monday, published on various social networks, hundreds of students are seen waving their veils and singing chants such as “death to the dictator” and “the mullahs must go away”, in reference to Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader and figure Iran’s most important political and religious community, and to the Shiite clergy who govern the country.
In several cities, schoolgirls tore up or trampled pictures of Khamenei hanging on the walls of their schools, and in one case they had their back turned, without veil, while showing the middle finger to a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader.
The first reaction from Iran’s supreme leader about protests over the death of #MahsaAmini was loaded with warnings of escalation, yet the protests themselves spread to secondary schools today with some schoolgirls making a point about how they felt towards the supreme leader. pic.twitter.com/ya2MPr15b4
– Siavash Ardalan (@BBCArdalan) October 4, 2022
In Shiraz, a city in the south of the country about 600 kilometers from Tehran, dozens of students blocked the traffic of one of the main roads by waving their veils and shouting slogans against Khamenei. There were other popular protests also in Tehran and in Saqqez and Sanandaj, in the northwest.
Also on Monday there were the first public statements by Khamenei about the protests: in a speech given during a ceremony for police cadets in Tehran, Khamenei said that Mahsa Amini’s death “is a tragic accident that saddened everyone. But the right reaction is not to create insecurity, burn the Koran, mosques, banks, cars and remove the veil from women ”. He further argued that the protests would be organized “by the United States, by the false and usurper Zionist regime [intendendo lo stato d’Israele, ndr]by those who are paid by them, and with the help of some Iranian traitors who are abroad ”.
– Read also: Are protests in Iran really a danger to the regime?
Mahsa Amini died in prison after being arrested by religious police in a Tehran park because she was accused of not wearing the veil correctly (in Iran, women are required by law to wear it in public places). Authorities had claimed that Amini later died of natural causes, but the regime’s version had not convinced many people, who accused the agents who had her in custody of beating her to death.