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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Iran Hijab Protest: Girls shout ‘get lost, Basiji’ to paramilitary speaker

A new video posted online appears to show schoolgirls heckling a member of Iran’s dreaded Basij paramilitary force after anti-government protests sweeping the country spilled over into the classroom.

The teenagers are seen waving scarves in the air and shouting “get lost Basij” at the man who was allegedly asked to speak to them.

Basija’s volunteers helped the authorities quell the protests.

They erupted after the death of a woman detained for violating the hijab law.


Other footage circulating on social media appeared to show an elderly woman clapping as exposed schoolgirls, also dressed in black uniforms, chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom” in a street protest.

In a third video, said to have been shot in the city of Karaj, schoolgirls can be seen screaming and running away from a man, believed to be a member of the security forces in plainclothes, who is riding a motorcycle on a sidewalk.

The unrest was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who fell into a coma hours after being detained by morality police on September 13 in Tehran. She allegedly failed to cover her hair sufficiently. She died in hospital three days later.


Her family claims the police beat her in the head with a baton and smashed her head against one of their vehicles. Police denied she had been ill-treated and said she had suffered a heart attack.

The first protests took place in northwestern Iran, where Ms. Amini was from, and then quickly spread across the country.

Young women were at the forefront of the riots, but it wasn’t until Monday that schoolgirls began to participate publicly in large numbers.

It comes a day after security forces briefly surrounded Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology in response to a campus protest. Dozens of students were reportedly beaten, blindfolded and dragged away.


Also on Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei broke his silence on the unrest, accusing the US and Israel, Iran’s arch-enemies, of orchestrating the “unrest”. He also gave full support to the security forces, who rights groups have accused of killing dozens of people.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that the death toll from clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in the southeastern city of Zahedan rose to 83.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan and has a significant population of Sunni Muslims.


Authorities said the security forces were attacked by armed Baluchi separatists – a claim denied by the imam of the city’s largest mosque.

Violence broke out on Friday when protesters surrounded a police station and officers opened fire.

Tensions in the city were heightened by the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police chief elsewhere in Sistan Baluchistan.


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