Iranian protesters call for 3-day strike starting Monday


Protesters in Iran called on Sunday a three-day strike this week as they seek to maintain pressure on authorities over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, with protests planned on the day President Ebrahim Raisi is due to address students in Tehran.

Raisi is expected to visit Tehran University on Wednesday, celebrated in Iran as Student Day.

To coincide with Student Day, protesters are calling for strikes by merchants and a rally toward Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, according to individual posts shared on Twitter by accounts unverified by Reuters.

They have also called for three days of boycotting any economic activity starting on Monday.

Similar calls for strike action and mass mobilization have in past weeks resulted in an escalation in the unrest that has swept the country — some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The activist HRANA news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It said 18,210 demonstrators have been arrested and 61 members of the security forces killed.

A protester holds a photo of Amini during a demonstration in Istanbul on Sept. 20. Amini was on a visit with her family to the Iranian capital when she was detained on Sept. 13 by police who were enforcing Iran’s strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the headscarf in public. She was declared dead on Sept. 16 by state television after having spent three days in a coma. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s Interior Ministry state security council said on Saturday that the death toll was 200, according to the judiciary’s news agency Mizan.

The nationwide protests began after Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, died in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16, after she was detained for violating the hijab restrictions governing how women dress.

Fewer sightings of morality police

Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities apparently try to avoid provoking more protests.

On Saturday, public prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was cited by the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying that the morality police had been disbanded.

“The same authority which has established this police has shut it down,” Montazeri was quoted as saying.

The Interior Ministry, which is the authority in charge of the morality police, has yet to comment on the status of the force, which is tasked with monitoring Iranians’ clothing and public behaviour.

Montazeri said the morality police were not under the judiciary’s authority, which “continues to monitor behavioural actions at the community level.”

Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would not change its mandatory hijab policy, nor the way it enforces the policy.

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