New York [US]: At least 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran over the last six weeks, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died on September 16, according to the United Nations.
“Over the past six weeks, thousands of men, women and children – by some accounts over 14,000 persons – have been arrested, which includes human rights defenders, students, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists,” said Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran on Wednesday, reported CNN.
Protests have swept through the Islamic Republic for weeks following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died on September 16 after being detained by “morality police” and taken to a “re-education centre,” allegedly for not abiding by the country’s conservative dress code.
The “unabated violent response of security forces” in the country has led to the reported deaths of at least 277 people, Rehman added in an address to the UN Security Council, a figure backed by reports from human rights groups.
However, precise figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm – and different estimates have been given by opposition groups, international rights organisations and local journalists, reported CNN.
Rehman also referenced Iran’s decision to hold public trials for 1,000 people arrested in connection to the ongoing protests, noting that some of the charges carry the death penalty.
Iranian state media – a mouthpiece for the government – has itself reported on the 1,000 or so people indicted in Tehran province for their alleged involvement in nationwide protests, reported CNN.
Increasingly, activists and experts are characterising the protests as a national uprising and one of the biggest challenges to the Iranian regime since its founding.
“This is not a protest for reform,” Roham Alvandi, an associate professor of History at the London School of Economics, told CNN.
“This is an uprising demanding the end of the Islamic Republic. And that is something completely different to what we’ve seen before,” added Alvandi.
Notably, a violent clash took place between Iranian students and Iranian security forces at universities across Iran on Sunday.
Sunday’s violence came as nationwide protests gripped the country despite threats from the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, reported CNN.
The Guard’s chief, Hossein Salami had warned young Iranians that Saturday would be the last day of the protests first sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.
On Saturday Salami called on Iranian young people specifically to desist from protesting, reported CNN.