ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A rights watchdog on Wednesday raised the death toll of Iran’s escalating protests to at least seven, with hundreds of others wounded as angry demonstrations over Mahsa (Zhina) Amini’s death continue for the fifth day.
Eight people have been reportedly killed but only seven of the deaths have been confirmed, Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) founder Rebin Rahmani told #Rudaw# English.
Two people, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province overnight, head of Hengaw Organization for Human Rights Arsalan Yarahmadi confirmed to Rudaw English on Wednesday.
About 450 others have been wounded and around 500 protestors were arrested, Yarahmadi noted.
Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police in Tehran for wearing “improper” hijab and her death has triggered public anger with thousands of people flocking to the streets in protests that spread from Iran’s Kurdish region (Rojhelat) to the rest of the country.
Iranian authorities on Wednesday claimed that one member of the security forces was killed during the riots, while four others have been injured.
Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology Issa Zarepour on Wednesday denied disrupting the internet in the country amid ongoing protests, reported Iranian state media.
The International community has condemned Amini’s death which has engulfed social media platforms.
“Mahsa Amini should be alive today. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“The authorities must stop targeting, harassing, and detaining women who do not abide by the hijab rules,” acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada al-Nashif also said in a statement.
Videos of women taking off their headscarves and cutting their hair in solidarity with Amini’s death have been circulating on social media.
Shortly after Iran’s 1979 revolution, the hijab was declared compulsory and women who defied the Islamic dress code or refused to strictly follow it were denied their rights. Offenders against Iran’s sharia law and hijab rules often face fines or arrest.
Iran said it launched a probe into the incident.