‘It’s like a warzone’: Unrest in Iran over death of Mahsa Amini, 22, spills into seventh


Iran’s army warned on Friday that it would ‘confront the enemies’ to ensure security and peace in the country as protests rage over the death of Mahsa Amini in the morality police’s custody.

The army said ‘these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime’.

It comes as residents in Tehran have compared protest scenes to being ‘like a war zone’, while celebrities including Games of Thrones actress Sophie Turner, Sharon Stone and Hailey Bieber have joined the voices of outrage after the death of Mahsa. 

Mahsa, 22, died last week after being arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly and violating the country’s strict dress code.

Police say she had a heart attack – but an eyewitness claims she was beaten in a custody van before falling into a coma. Her distraught family are fighting for the truth as they say she had no underlying health issues and saw bruises on her body.

Women in the country have been seen burning their hijabs and headscarves in the street, as well as filming themselves cutting their hair. While around the world, people are also voicing their support for women’s rights with radical feminist activist group Femen staging a semi-naked protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Madrid, Spain.

Now actress British actress Turner has added to the condemnation and said that no woman should be persecuted over what clothes she chooses to wear or for standing up for her rights.

The star, who played Sansa Stark in HBO’s hit TV series, posted a picture of Mahsa on her Instagram Stories along with the following message: ‘No woman should be persecuted for choosing what to wear or for standing up for her rights.’

It comes as at least 36 people are reported to have been killed during the protests, a New York-based rights group claimed.

But an anchor on Iran’s state television suggested the death toll from the mass protests could be as high as 26, but did not elaborate or say how he reached that figure.

The country has also blocked internet access to the outside world, according to internet traffic monitor Netblocks, and tightened restrictions on popular platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp. 

State-organised demonstrations to counter the nationwide protests kicked off in several Iranian cities on Friday, with marchers calling for the execution of rioters. 

A resident of the capital Tehran told MailOnline: ‘It was like a war zone in several parts of the city last night. People were throwing stones at the police and police was firing rubber bullets and tear gas directly at people, I heard gunshots too but I guess they just fired into air.

Some women demonstrators have defiantly taken off their hijabs and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair

Members of the feminist activist group Femen have staged a protest outside of the embassy of Iran in Madrid in support of the Iranian women and against the death of Mahsa Amini

Members of the feminist activist group Femen have staged a protest outside of the embassy of Iran in Madrid in support of the Iranian women and against the death of Mahsa Amini

People have been clashing with police as they gather in the streets to voice their anger over the death of Mahsa Amini

People have been clashing with police as they gather in the streets to voice their anger over the death of Mahsa Amini

At least 36 people have been killed in the protests, a New York-based rights group claims, since unrest began a week ago

At least 36 people have been killed in the protests, a New York-based rights group claims, since unrest began a week ago 

Turner has said that no woman should be persecuted over what clothes she chooses to wear or for standing up for her rights.

Sophie Turner along with Sharon Stone and Hailey Bieber have joined the voices of outrage after death of Mahsa Amini as violent protests continued across Iran

Turner has said that no woman should be persecuted over what clothes she chooses to wear or for standing up for her rights in an post on Instagram (left), while Hailey Bieber has also shared her heartbreak (right)

Iranians march during a pro-hijab rally in the capital Tehran on September 23, 2022

Iranians march during a pro-hijab rally in the capital Tehran on September 23, 2022

Thousands of people marched through Iran's capital during a pro-hijab rally Friday, paying tribute to security forces who have moved to quell a week of protests by what media called "conspirators"

Thousands of people marched through Iran’s capital during a pro-hijab rally Friday, paying tribute to security forces who have moved to quell a week of protests by what media called “conspirators”

‘Last night the crowd started to gather at around 7pm and the clashes continued after mid night,’ he added. 

‘It was more chaotic last night than previous nights and I heard more gunshots. People burned a tyre in the middle of the road. 

Another resident of the capital told MailOnline that he had seen armed men with no uniforms on roofs of people’s houses in a neighbourhood in Tehran. 

‘I noticed them last night. I have not seen them shooting but they were just checking who goes where. Probably to come and arrest them later,’ he said. 

‘Local people are closing their shops early these days,’ he added. 

Iranian media reported the arrest of 288 rioters on Thursday. 

Some women demonstrators have defiantly taken off their hijabs and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair.

The radical feminist activist group Femen have also staged a semi-naked protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Madrid Spain. 

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini

The demonstrations in Iran began as an emotional outpouring over the death Mahsa Amini, held by the country's morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code

The demonstrations in Iran began as an emotional outpouring over the death Mahsa Amini, held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code

The police say she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account

The police say she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account

Iran's state-run media this week reported demonstrations of hundreds of people in at least 13 cities, including the capital, Tehran

Iran’s state-run media this week reported demonstrations of hundreds of people in at least 13 cities, including the capital, Tehran

‘Unfortunately, 26 people and police officers present at the scene of these events lost their lives,’ the anchor said, adding official statistics would be released later.

Iran’s state-run media this week reported demonstrations of hundreds of people in at least 13 cities, including the capital, Tehran.

Iranian authorities imposed some restrictions on the internet and blocked access to WhatsApp and Instagram.

‘In accordance with a decision by officials, it has no longer been possible to access Instagram in Iran since Wednesday evening and access to WhatsApp is also disrupted,’ the semi-official Fars news agency reported. 

The two apps were the most widely used in Iran after the blocking of other platforms in recent years, including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube and TikTok.

It comes as 13 Iranian lawmakers have suggested to the government to take harsher measures against the protesters.

Officials have denied that security forces have killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents but footage purportedly shows police officers firing directly at people.

People in Tehran and some other cities planed to hold a counter-protest rally after the Friday prayer.

The radical feminist activist group Femen have also staged a semi-naked protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Madrid Spain

The radical feminist activist group Femen have also staged a semi-naked protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Madrid Spain

Members of the feminist activist group hold up signs in support of Iranian women

Members of the feminist activist group hold up signs in support of Iranian women

The also had the words 'Woman, life, freedom' written on their chests

The also had the words ‘Woman, life, freedom’ written on their chests

The army said 'these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime'.

The army said ‘these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime’.

Since Amini was pronounced dead on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran, protests have spread to most major urban centres in Iran, including the capital as well as Isfahan, Mashhad, Rasht and Saqez.

Unprecedented images have shown protesters defacing or burning images of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and late Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani.

In response, security forces have fired at crowds with birdshot and metal pellets, and deployed tear gas and water cannon, Amnesty International and other human rights groups claim.

Pro-government protests were planned for Friday, Iranian media said.

Protesters in Tehran and other cities have torched police stations and vehicles as outrage over Amini’s death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

Iran's army warned on Friday that it would 'confront the enemies' to ensure security

Iran’s army warned on Friday that it would ‘confront the enemies’ to ensure security

The army said 'these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime'

The army said ‘these desperate actions are part of the evil strategy of the enemy to weaken the Islamic regime’

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history

Meanwhile CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, 64, cancelled an interview she was set to do with Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, 61, at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday after he reportedly asked her to wear a headscarf amid civil unrest in Tehran following the death of a pro-democracy protester in custody.

When Amanpour, who is British-Iranian and grew up in Tehran, interviewed former President Hassan Rouhani, she did not wear a headscarf, which she reportedly said that she pointed out.

Amanpour wrote on Instagram: ‘We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves. I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran.’

The American singer Bebe Rexha also took to Twitter, posting a picture of Mahsa and saying: ‘I stand with female Persians in their fight for freedom.’ The post had 63,600 likes at the time of writing.

The American model Hailey Bieber, 25, who is married to Justin Bieber, shared images of Mahsa on her Instagram Stories.

Protesters chant slogans during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran

Protesters chant slogans during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran 

Some women demonstrators have defiantly taken off their hijabs and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair

Some women demonstrators have defiantly taken off their hijabs and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair

The official Instagram handle for the James Webb telescope has also posted a picture of Mahsa, with the caption: ‘Due to Heavy request of our subscribers and hundred million Hashtags. :)’

Iran’s President Raisi has now said that he has contacted Mahsa’s family as protests across Iran grow. Ebrahim Raisi told a news conference while at the UN General Assembly in New York, that the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police ‘must certainly be investigated’.

There have also been reports that several government websites have been hacked, with the hacker collective Anonymous declaring a cyber war on the Iranian regime.

Some platforms are recommending that Iranians use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access content that is being restricted by the authorities.

Mahsa was declared brain dead and died in hospital three days after she was allegedly beaten by Iran’s morality police.

She had apparently been detained for what was described as a ‘re-education class’ after she was arrested next to a metro station in Tehran for failing to adhere to Iran’s strict hijab rules on 13th September.

Hours later she was in hospital with a skull fracture ’caused by a direct blow’ and internal bleeding, according to hacked CT scans obtained by a London-based news organisation known as Iran International.

Doctors went on to say that Mahsa had blood and fluid in her lungs because she went into a coma soon after receiving a blow to the head, according to the news organisation.

United States National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, wrote in a tweet that Iranian authorities should be held accountable for human rights violations.

Tehran officials reportedly at first said that Mahsa died of a heart attack and went on to say that she suffered from epilepsy, a claim that her father has denied.

All women, including tourists, have had to wear a headscarf in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk