At least 20 people are dead and 450 detained in Iran’s bloody week of protests

  • Iranian state TV reported nine additional deaths on Tuesday morning.
  • One of the fatalities was an 11-year-old boy.
  • Violence centred on an alleged raid on a police station in Isfahan province.
  • Protests have been rocking Iran since Thursday, and the death toll is now at least 20.
  • An Iranian government official said at least 450 people have been arrested.

More than twenty people have died after another bloody night of protests in Iran added nine people to the death toll.

State TV in Iran reported the nine additional fatalities on Tuesday morning, according to the Associated Press. They include an 11-year-old boy and a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Separately, an Iranian government official said that security services in the country have detained at least 450 people since protests began last week.

According to the state broadcast, a focus of violence was a police station in Qahdarijan in Isfahan province, which protesters allegedly tried to raid to steal guns.

The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since a disputed presidential election in 2009, have seen six days of unrest across the country and a death toll of at least 20.

The state TV report said an 11-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed in the town of Khomeinishahr, while a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was killed in the town of Najafabad. It says all three were shot by hunting rifles, which are common in the Iranian countryside.

iran protestsA social media image showing protests in Tehran on December 30. Reuters

The towns are all in Iran’s central Isfahan province, some 215 miles south of Tehran, the capital.

Monday night saw 100 new arrests, according to Ali Asghar Naserbakht, deputy governor of Tehran province.

He was quoted by the semi-official ILNA news agency, which in turn was cited by Reuters.

The 100 arrests followed 150 on Sunday and 200 on Saturday, giving a total of 450 over the weekend.

The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over Iran’s weak economy and a jump in food prices and have expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

It wasn’t clear whether the Revolutionary Guard member was the same fatality report late Monday night by Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency. Mehr had said an assailant using a hunting rifle killed a policeman and wounded three others in Najafabad.

Monday marked the first night to see a fatality among Iran’s security forces.

President Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the public’s anger over the Islamic Republic’s flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn’t hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.

That was echoed Monday by judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who urged authorities to confront rioters, state TV reported.

“I demand all prosecutors across the country to get involved and the approach should be strong,” he said.


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