Iranian forces seen assaulting female protesters triggers backlash

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A verified video of anti-riot forces in Iran assaulting a female protester has invoked outcry across social media.

Verified and reported by the BBC on Friday, two videos showed a group of officers wearing protective gear violently manhandling protesters, with at least one groping the victim.

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In one instance, as a protester walks toward a group of officers, the victim is seen inappropriately touched from side by an officer while violently pulled backward by her hair by another.

She is also seen screaming as she is then pulled away by Iran’s security forces before fellow demonstrators take her away.

Another video shared in the same BBC clip shows a group of officers in anti-riot gear forcefully push a person toward a two-wheeler before inappropriately holding them from the back.

The victim slips from the officers’ grip and sinks to the ground shortly after. The incident reportedly took place in Tehran’s Argentina Square, with many calling for stern action against the perpetrators.

A women being touched inappropriately during protests in Iran. (Screengrab from video)
A women being touched inappropriately during protests in Iran. (Screengrab from video)

These incidents add to numerous videos shared by protesters, despite reported instances of internet blocks, showcasing violent interactions between security forces and protesters.

Tehran’s Police Public Relations office said the incident is being investigated, according to state news agency IRNA.

The police statement did not provide details of what happened, but said that “enemies using psychological warfare tried to cause public anxiety and incite violence,” the BBC reported.

“Have you brought out the harassment of the girls of this land from [your] prisons into the open streets with the aim to shout out [at us] in public your obscenity, lechery and filth?” a social media user by the name of Atefeh asked.

The protests were sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Iran’s security forces have killed 224 people, including 29 minors, in anti-government protests, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a news site run by a collective of Iranian human rights advocates.

The unrest has continued despite what Amnesty International called an “unrelenting brutal crackdown” that included an “all-out attack on child protesters” - leading to the deaths of at least 23 minors.

The protests have quickly escalated and turned political with demonstrations taking place country-wide.

Protesters have been chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and calling for the downfall of the regime.

With inputs from Al Arabiya English’s Yaghoub Fazeli

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