Thousands of Iranians gathered on Thursday to mourn a 16-year-old girl killed in police crackdowns on protests that have roiled the country for nearly six weeks.

Videos shared on social media purportedly from the town of Veysian and the city of Khorramabad in Iran’s Lorestan province, where Nika Shakarami’s family is from, showed large crowds of mourners chanting “death to the dictator” and “we are all Nika.”

Other footage from the area appeared to show security forces shooting at protesters. None of the videos can be verified by Bloomberg.

Thursday’s developments came after a day of massive demonstrations in the country, concentrated in Tehran and western Kurdistan province where tens of thousands of people had gathered to mark 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose death in policy custody triggered the nationwide unrest.
Police Crackdown

Shakarami went missing on Sept. 20 after joining demonstrations against Amini’s death earlier that month, according to her family, who told BBC Persian that her autopsy showed multiple fractures to her head, hip and limbs. Iranian authorities have claimed that she fell from the top of a building, without offering any evidence.

Death of Iranian Teenager Fans Flames of Nationwide Protests

The fact that protesters are using Iran’s traditional calendar of mourning rites to continue anti-government protests suggests they are likely to keep up for weeks ahead.

The protests are some of the biggest to challenge the Islamic Republic and its clerical rulers since the 1979 revolution. Thousands of people have been arrested and the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group said it’s confirmed 234 deaths of protesters, including 29 children.

According to London-based Amnesty International, security forces in the Kurdish city Mahabad on Thursday opened fire on people who had gathered to protest the killing of Esmail Maloudi, a protester killed in the city on Wednesday night.

Iranians continue to demonstrate despite the violent crackdown by security forces, who’ve been shown brutally beating protesters in scores of unverified videos posted online. The country’s embattled leaders have denounced the protesters and authorities have indicted some for serious offenses.

Earlier on Thursday, Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi vowed to punish individuals behind a reported gun attack on a famous mosque in the southern city of Shiraz. In comments shown on state TV, Raisi linked the incident to the protests, saying they helped “lay the groundwork for terrorist attacks.”

Within minutes of the first reports of the attack, state-run news agencies reported that 15 people had been killed and that the police had already apprehended two assailants and established that they were members of the Islamic State.

Source » bloomberg