Published 1:10 AM EDT, Sun September 17, 2023
Protests erupted throughout Iran on Saturday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old women who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police after being arrested for allegedly not wearing her headscarf properly.
Video obtained by CNN showed demonstrations throughout multiple cities in Iran, including capital city Tehran, Mashad, Ahvaz, Lahijan, Arak, and the Kurdish city of Senandaj.
Many of the protesters chanted, “Women, Life, Freedom” – a popular rallying cry used after nationwide protests erupted following Amini’s death last year.
Some protesters also chanted death slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Authorities deployed armed guards in many cities as a show of force and police officers were seen chasing protesters in the northern city of Lahijan.
Rallies commemorating Amini’s death were held in other cities around the world like Paris, Brussels and Berlin.
Many said they felt the need to raise their voices when so many in Iran could not.
Hundreds gathered in London on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary. “We just wanted to let everyone know that this is not going to finish,” a female protester told CNN.
“Our battle has started and we are not going to stop until freedom for Iran, until a revolution, until we kick the mullahs out of the power.”
Protest organizer Ellie Borhan was also seen in videos cutting her hair on stage in front of the crowd.
‘Detention and persecution’ of family members
The news comes after Iranian journalists and rights groups said Amini’s father Amjad had been detained by authorities on Saturday.
Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, also the founder of the IranWire activist outlet, told CNN that Amjad Amini had been regularly summoned by security officers in the months following his daughter’s death.
He was detained “for a few hours” on Saturday, Bahari said.
The family had visited her grave in the western Kurdish city of Saqqez on Friday, the eve of the one-year anniversary, IranWire reported on Saturday.
Helicopters were seen hovering over the Aichi cemetery with numerous military personnel and police officers also stationed throughout the area, IranWire added.
Amjad was detained by authorities the following day for three to four hours, along with his son – who was warned that he would be banished to a remote village if he encouraged people to attend ceremonies marking the anniversary of Amini’s death, Bahari told CNN.
Amini’s uncle Safa Aeli, who lives in the city of Saqqez, was also arrested by authorities earlier this week, according to a family member and reports by the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Responding to claims by Iranian journalists and rights groups, authorities strongly denied reports of Amjad Amini’s detention, claiming instead they had prevented “an assassination attempt” – reported the IRNA state media news outlet.
The Political, Security, and Social Vice Governor of Kurdistan arrested several members of “a terrorist group” who wanted to assassinate Amini, IRNA said in a post on Telegram, describing the claims by Iranian journalists and rights groups as “false”.