Iran Is Creating More Symbols For Opposition By Firing On Mahsa Amini Protests
Iran’s security forces have reportedly responded once again to large protests over the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody by firing into crowds of demonstrators using live ammunition.
The tactic may be backfiring, however, as killing protesters is creating new symbols for galvanizing opposition to the theocratic Islamic Republic regime in Tehran.
The protesters reportedly targeted government buildings after attending the memorial ceremony of a man killed during unrest in the country.
Security forces also reportedly opened fire at a cemetery near Khorramabad.
Rights group Amnesty International says security forces have killed eight people since Wednesday.
The Khorramabad protests were not only over Mahsa Amini’s death, but also over the death of Nika Shakarami, who apparently died under unexplained circumstances during the initial protests after Amini’s death.
Several hundred people had reportedly gathered around the municipal governor's offices in the largely ethnically Kurdish town, but state media insisted police had the situation under control, and denied reports that the city had "fallen" to unrest.
Meanwhile, in Khorramabad - also in western Iran - demonstrators had gathered at the cemetery to mourn Nika Shakarami, who disappeared soon after Ms Amini's death and became another symbol of the protest movement.
Videos from Khorramabad showed protesters chanting anti-state slogans including "down with the dictator", a reference to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
While accurate news reporting on events in Iran is difficult (western media by and large are forbidden to report on Iran), based on social media postings, the protests over Mahsa Amini are steadily increasing.
The names of fresh protest casualties are also circulating, perhaps setting the stage for even more protests 40 days from now.
Given the importance of the 40 day mourning rituals in Iran, killing protesters may very well result in an endless cycle of fresh protests every 40 days as more protesters are shot and killed by Iranian security police. There would be an historical and ironic symmetry to such an outcome, as a similar protest dynamic helped topple the Shah in 1979 and bring the mullahs to power.
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Shīʿa Islam was literally founded on martyrdom. This won't end well.
Overthrowing dictators and keeping them overthrown is hard.