© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iranian riot police forces stand on a street in Tehran, Iran October 3, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
DUBAI (Reuters) – Female students in Tehran chanted “get lost”, activists say, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited their university campus on Saturday and condemned protesters enraged by the death of a young girl. woman in detention.
As the nationwide protests that rocked Iran entered their fourth week, Raisi addressed professors and students at Alzahra University in Tehran, reciting a poem that equates “rioters” with flies.
“They imagine they can achieve their diabolical goals in universities,” state television reported. “Unbeknownst to them, our students and teachers are vigilant and will not allow the enemy to achieve their evil goals.”
A video posted to Twitter by activist website 1500tasvir showed what it said were female students chanting “Raisi get lost” and “Mullahs get lost” as the president toured their campus.
An Iranian state coroner’s report denied that Mahsa Amini, 22, died from blows to the head and limbs while in police custody and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions , state media said on Friday.
Amini, an Iranian Kurd, was arrested in Tehran on September 13 for wearing “inappropriate attire” and died three days later.
His death sparked protests across the country, marking the biggest challenge to Iranian religious leaders in years.
Women removed their veils in defiance of the clerical establishment as angry crowds called for the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The government has described the protests as a plot by Iran’s enemies, including the United States, accusing armed dissidents – among others – of violence in which at least 20 members of the security forces were reportedly killed.
Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested by security forces in the face of protests.
After a call for mass protests on Saturday, security forces fired on protesters and used tear gas in the Kurdish towns of Sanandaj and Saqez, according to Iranian human rights group Hengaw.
In Sanandaj, capital of northwestern Kurdistan province, a man lay dead in his car while a woman shouted “shamelessly”, according to Hengaw, who said he was shot dead by security forces after he honked his horn in sign of protest.
But a senior police official repeated the security forces’ claim that they had not used live ammunition and that the man had been killed by “counter-revolutionaries” (armed dissidents), reported the state news agency IRNA.
‘WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM’
Hengaw also released video of emergency personnel trying to resuscitate a person and said a protester died after being shot in the abdomen by security forces in Sanandaj. Reuters could not verify the video.
One of the schools in the town square of Saqez was filled with schoolgirls chanting “woman, life, freedom”, Hengaw reported.
The widely followed 1500tasvir Twitter account also reported shootings at protesters in the two northwestern Kurdish towns.
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 won’t be silent anymore. Our classmates are in jail. How can we keep silent? the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.
Widespread strikes are taking place in the towns of Saqez, Diwandareh, Mahabad and Sanandaj, Hengaw said.