Women students tell Iran’s president to ‘get lost’ as unrest rages

DUBAI, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi visited his university campus on Saturday and protested against protesters angry over the death of a young woman, chanting “lost” female students in Tehran, videos on social media showed.

As nationwide protests enter their fourth week, Raisi addressed professors and students at Alzahra University in Tehran and read a poem equating “rioters” to flies.

“They have an idea that they can achieve their evil goals in universities,” Raisi said on state TV. “Unbeknownst to them, our students and faculty are on alert and will not let the enemy know their evil intentions.”

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A video posted on Twitter by activist 1500Photos shows female students chanting “Raisi gate lost” and “Mullah lost” when the president visited their campus. In another social media video, students were seen saying “we don’t want corrupt guests” in reference to Raisi.

Reuters could not immediately verify the video.

A state coroner’s report ruled out that 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died of blows to the head and limbs while in moral police custody, and state media said Friday that her death was linked to pre-existing medical conditions.

Amini, an Iranian Kurd, was arrested in Tehran on September 13 for wearing “improper clothing” and died three days later.

Her death has sparked nationwide protests, the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years. Women have removed their veils in protest against the clerical establishment as angry crowds have called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The government has described the protests as a conspiracy by Iran’s enemies, including the United States, accusing armed dissidents – among others – of the violence that has killed at least 20 members of the security forces.

Rights groups say more than 185 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands have been targeted by security forces.

After calling for mass protests on Saturday, security forces fired on protesters and fired tear gas in the Kurdish towns of Sanandaj and Sakez, according to the Iranian human rights group Hengaw.

In Sanandaj, the capital of northwestern Kurdistan province, a man died in his car, while a woman screamed “shameless”, according to Hengaw, who was shot by security forces after the man honked his horn in protest.

A senior police official repeated security forces’ claims that they did not use live bullets and told state media that the man was killed by armed dissidents.

State media played down protests in the capital, Tehran, and reported “limited” demonstrations in dozens of areas. It said many market traders had closed their shops fearing losses in the unrest and ruled out a strike.

But videos on social media showed the biggest protests in three weeks in several parts of Tehran, including crowds in the streets of the low-income southern neighborhood of Nazi Abad.

Videos shared on social media showed protests in several major cities. A video shows a young woman lying unconscious on the ground after being shot in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran’s second most populous city.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights said at least 185 people had been killed in the protests, with the most killings in the restive Sistan-Baluchistan province in the southeast.

As state TV showed footage of Ayatollah Khamenei on the evening’s main news, the broadcast was briefly interrupted with an image of Amini and three other women killed during the protests, engulfed in flames.

The protest’s signature slogans of “Women, Life, Freedom” could be heard as the Adalet Ali hacker group posted their web addresses. The group last year hacked security cameras and abused prison inmates, mostly political prisoners. [nL1N2PV1CH}

CALL FOR UNITY

After a weekly meeting, Raisi and Iran’s head of judiciary and parliament speaker called for unity.

“Currently, the Iranian society needs the unity of all its strata regardless of language, religion and ethnicity to overcome the hostility and division spread by anti-Iranians,” they said in a statement.

Hengaw also carried a video of emergency personnel trying to resuscitate a person and said one protester had died after being shot in the abdomen by security forces in Sanandaj. Reuters could not verify the video.

One of the schools in Saqez city’s square was filled with girls chanting “Woman, life, freedom”, Hengaw reported.

The widely followed 1500tasvir Twitter account also reported shootings at protesters in the two northwestern Kurdish cities.

A university student who was on his way to join protests in Tehran said he was not afraid of being arrested or even killed.

“They can kill us, arrest us but we will not remain silent anymore. Our classmates are in jail. How can we remain silent?” the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.

Internet watchdog NetBlocks said the internet had been cut in Sanandaj again amid protests in Kurdish areas.

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Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy
Editing by Ros Russell, Nick Macfie and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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