Solidarity with Iran as worldwide protests staged over death of Mahsa Amini

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP, AFP, Anadolu
Protesters in Rome in support of Iranian women
Protesters in Rome in support of Iranian women   -   Copyright  AP Photo

Protest rallies were held in cities across the world on Saturday in solidarity with Iranians protesting over the death of a young woman in police custody last month.

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by Iran's so-called morality police for allegedly wearing her mandatory Islamic headscarf too loosely. She died in hospital several days after being released from police custody.

Her death led to a wave of protests across Iran and further afield. 

The organisers of the latest protests say rallies have been held in 150 cities worldwide, including the Chilean capital Santiago, London, Tokyo and San Francisco. 

Many of the protesters are Iranians living in exile. 

At a protest in Rome, where around 1,000 people marched, some vented their anger at the regime in Tehran.

"With this regime, it is not possible to receive human rights, that's all," said Sahar, who's been living in Italy for ten years. "Now is the time for all of us to think that we have the ability to change this 43-year-long oppression."

"We don't want this government anymore, we don't want the Ayatollahs anymore," added Arezoo, an Iranian woman living in Rome for the last 13 years. 

In Berlin, more than 1,000 people gathered, holding placards denouncing the Iranian regime, while in Lisbon, some 200 people chanted "no to dictatorship".

Protests are also continuing in Iran. Rallies were staged at many universities in anger at what happened to Mahsa Amini.

During the protests, where anti-system slogans were chanted and various banners were carried, students demanded an end to the detentions and the release of the detainees as soon as possible.

Former Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, now in the opposition, urged law enforcement agencies to stop the violence in a post on the Instagram account of the website Kaleme, which is close to him.

"I would like to remind all law enforcement agencies of their oath to protect our land, Iran, and the human lives, property, and rights of the people," said the former official who has been under house arrest since 2011. "The blood of the oppressed is stronger than the violence of tyrants."

The government denies any responsibility for Mahsa's death and has labelled protesters as rioters, arresting hundreds of them as a result.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday that an attack by armed separatists on a police station in a southeastern city killed 19 people, including four members of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The report quoted the provincial governor as saying that 32 Guard members were injured in Friday's attack. It said the assailants hid among worshippers near a mosque in the city of Zahedan and attacked the nearby police station.

It was not immediately clear if the attack was related to nationwide antigovernment protests gripping Iran after Mahsa Amini's death in police custody.