On Saturday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin in support of Iranian protestors as unrest sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in police detention entered its sixth week despite a violent response by the government.
Even if they don’t seem to be near to overthrowing a government that has deployed its formidable security apparatus to put an end to the turmoil, the protests have presented one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in the custody of morality police after being detained for “improper attire”. Protests erupted at her funeral on Sept. 17 in the Kurdish town of Saqez before spreading across Iran. Rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown.
Women have played a prominent part, waving and burning veils. The deaths of several teenaged girls reportedly killed during protests have fuelled more anger.
Anti-government activists said the Berlin march was the largest ever demonstration against the Islamic Republic by Iranians abroad.
“I feel very good, because we are here to (say) ‘We are with you, with all Iranian people’. I am Mahsa Amini’s voice,” said a protester who gave her name as Maru.
Videos posted on social media – which Reuters could not independently verify – showed protests continuing in Iran at several cities including Tehran, northeastern Mashhad, northwestern Mahabad, Dezful in the southwest and a number of universities across the country.
Videos showed protesters chanting in Tehran’s western Sadeghieh neighbourhood and lighting fires in the streets of the capital’s Lalehzar district. Another showed cars in Mashhad honking their horns and demonstrators chanting “Death to the dictator”.
Social media videos said to be from Dezful showed youths chanting “Freedom, freedom, freedom” as they confronted police in the predominantly ethnic Arab, oil-rich province of Khuzestan on the Iraqi border.