Iranian security forces have opened fire on protesters who had gathered in their thousands in Mahsa Amini’s hometown to mark 40 days since her death, a human rights group has said.

“Security forces have shot teargas and opened fire on people in Zindan Square, Saqqez city,” Hengaw, a Norway-based group that monitors rights violations in Iran’s Kurdish regions, tweeted without specifying whether there were any dead or wounded.

Despite heightened security measures, columns of mourners had poured into Saqqez in the western Kurdistan province to pay tribute to Amini at her grave at the end of the traditional mourning period.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died on 16 September, three days after her arrest by the morality police while visiting Tehran with her younger brother.

Anger flared at her funeral last month and sparked the biggest wave of protests in Iran in almost three years. Young women and schoolgirls have led the demonstrations, removing and burning their headscarves and confronting security forces on the street.

Mourners headed to Amini’s gravesite on Wednesday morning, even though the security services had warned her family not to hold the ceremony, threatening that “they should worry for their son’s life”, according to activists. Wednesday marked 40 days since Amini’s death and the end of the traditional mourning period in Iran.

“Death to the dictator,” mourners chanted at the Aichi cemetery outside Saqqez, before many were seen heading to the governor’s office in the city centre. Iran’s Fars news agency said about 2,000 people gathered in Saqqez and chanted “Woman, life, freedom”.

Images shared by the Hengaw showed the heavy presence of security forces overnight in Saqqez. They had reportedly shut entrances to the city.

Despite that, dozens of people were seen streaming into Saqqez in cars and on motorcycles, as well as on foot along roads and across fields, in footage posted online by the rights group.

In a video verified by Agence France-Presse, a group of people chant: “This year is the year of blood, Seyed Ali will be toppled,” referring to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Kurdistan, Kurdistan, the graveyard of fascists,” a group was heard chanting in another video shared by activists on Twitter. AFP was unable to immediately verify this footage.

Hengaw said strikes by workers were underway in Saqqez as well as Divandarreh, Marivan, Kamyaran and Sanandaj, and in Javanrud and Ravansar in the western province of Kermanshah.

The group said the Iranian footballers Ali Daei and Hamed Lak had travelled to Saqqez to take part in the 40th day funeral and were staying at the Kurd hotel, but they “had been taken to the government guesthouse … under guard by the security forces”.

Daei has previously run into trouble with authorities over his online support for the Amini protests.

Unverified footage posted by the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) showed people gathering outside the Kurd hotelin night-time protests.

The Hammihan newspaper quoted Kurdistan governor, Esmail Zarei Koosha, as saying Daei and other celebrities were in Tehran, however, and everything was calm in Saqqez.

IHR said 141 demonstrators were killed during the crackdown on the Amini protests, in an updated death toll on Tuesday.

Amnesty International said at least 23 children had been killed, while IHR on Tuesday put that number at 29.

Source » theguardian