An enormous hearth blazed Saturday at a infamous prison the place political prisoners and anti-government activists are saved in the Iranian capital. Online movies and native media reported gunshots, as nationwide protests entered a fifth week.
Iran’s state-run IRNA reported that there have been clashes between prisoners in one ward and prison personnel, citing a senior safety official. The official stated prisoners set hearth to a warehouse filled with prison uniforms, which prompted the blaze. He stated the “rioters” have been separated from the opposite prisoners to de-escalate the battle.
The official stated that the “situation is completely under control” and that firefighters have been extinguishing the flames. Later, Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi stated that “peace” had returned to the prison and that the unrest was not associated to the protests which have swept the nation for 4 weeks.
Footage of the blaze circulated on-line. Videos confirmed shots ringing out as plumes of smoke engulfed the sky in Tehran amid the sound of an alarm.
Witnesses stated that police blocked roads and highways to Evin prison and that not less than three robust explosions have been heard coming from the world. Traffic was heavy alongside main motorways close to the prison, which is in the north of the capital, and many individuals honked to point out their solidarity with protests.
Riot police have been seen driving on motorbikes towards the power, as have been ambulances and hearth strucks. Witnesses reported that the web was blocked in the world.
The U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran reported that an “armed conflict” broke out inside the prison partitions. It stated shots have been first heard in Ward 7 of the prison. This account couldn’t instantly be verified.
The prison hearth occurred as protesters intensified anti-government demonstrations alongside principal streets and at universities in some cities throughout Iran on Saturday. Human rights displays reported a whole lot lifeless, together with kids, because the motion concluded its fourth week.
Demonstrators chanted “Down with the Dictator” on the streets of Ardabil in the nation’s northwest. Outside of universities in Kermanshah, Rasht and Tehran, college students rallied, in accordance with movies on social media. In town of Sanandaj, a hotspot for demonstrations in the northern Kurdish area, college ladies chanted, “Woman, life, freedom,” down a central avenue.
The protests erupted after public outrage over the loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. She was arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict costume code. Iran’s authorities insists Amini was not mistreated in police custody, however her household says her physique confirmed bruises and different indicators of beating after she was detained.
At least 233 protesters have been killed since demonstrations swept Iran on Sept. 17, in accordance with U.S.-based rights monitor HRANA. The group stated 32 among the many lifeless have been beneath the age of 18. Earlier, Oslo-based Iran Human Rights estimated 201 folks have been killed.
Iranian authorities have dismissed the unrest as a purported Western plot, with out offering proof.
Public anger in Iran has coalesced round Amini’s loss of life, prompting women and girls to take away their obligatory headscarves on the road in a present of solidarity. Other segments of society, together with oil employees, have additionally joined the motion, which has unfold to not less than 19 cities, changing into one of many biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy because the nation’s 2009 Green Movement.
Riots have additionally damaged out in prisons, with clashes reported between inmates and guards in Lakan prison in the northern province of Gilan lately.
Commercial strikes resumed Saturday in key cities throughout the Kurdish area, together with Saqqez, Amini’s hometown and the birthplace of the protests, Bukan and Sanandaj.
The authorities has responded with a brutal crackdown, arresting activists and protest organizers, reprimanding Iranian celebrities for voicing assist, even confiscating their passports, and utilizing reside ammunition, tear fuel and sound bombs to disperse crowds, resulting in deaths.
In a video extensively distributed Saturday, plainclothes Basij, a paramilitary volunteer group, are seen forcing a lady right into a automotive and firing bullets into the air amid a protest in Gohardasht, in northern Iran.
Widespread web outages have additionally made it tough for protesters to speak with the skin world, whereas Iranian authorities have detained not less than 40 journalists because the unrest started, in accordance with the Committee to Protect Journalists.