At least 23 children killed in Iran protests in September, rights group says
Iran’s government on Friday condemned a night of violent protests in Qom as a “crime” and called on the government to punish the demonstrators.
The Islamic Republic News Agency said on its website that Iran’s government was also investigating the deaths of demonstrators who died in clashes with authorities after the violence.
The protests were sparked by a government decision to increase gas prices for millions of Iranians from February.
Iran’s judiciary is still investigating the case of the protests’ first victim, a 32-year-old woman who died in the hospital last month after police arrested her.
Earlier this month, the Islamic republic’s state media said it had arrested an activist for setting fires at fuel-stations in the capital, Tehran.
On Thursday, rights group Iran Human Rights indicated that 21 protesters had also died in the protests in various cities across Iran.
The group said most of those killed were young men, and the majority of the victims were students. The report said they were killed during the night, when the protests spread to Tehran.
Among the dead was Hamzeh Esfandiari, a 29-year-old woman, who was buried on Friday.
The Human Rights News Agency said she was arrested after she was injured in a police assault on a demonstration in Tehran.
The group quoted her as saying that “the authorities have created police stations for themselves in mosques”.
Iran’s authorities have repeatedly dismissed violent protests as a riot against poor quality of services.
The state news agency Fars has refused to comment on reports of the protesters having been shot with rubber bullets, but has also alleged they were arrested without justification.
The Associated Press said it was not clear whether the protesters had been shot with rubber bullets, but said the government had been “furious” about them.