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Iran’s security forces shoot dead protester tearing down poster of supreme leader

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Security forces in Iran have shot dead a protester who was seen removing a large government poster featuring the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, BBC Persian reported on Tuesday.

Identified as Erfan Rezaei, the 21-year-old protester was killed after a pistol fired at his shoulder at close range, the British broadcaster reported citing a source close to the family.

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The incident took place on September 21. The family, reportedly under pressure from the government, was coerced into admitting that Rezaei was shot by a fellow protestor.

Iranian government officials have not commented on the incident.

Rezaei died as a result of “severe damage to the kidney and spleen caused by the bullet wound to his back,” the BBC reported citing the source.

Rezaei’s mother rushed to hospital after authorities informed her about his whereabouts. However, nurses refused to help her find him.

After three hours of searching, she eventually spotted his blood-stained clothes outside an operating room, the British broadcaster reported.

Authorities allowed Rezaei’s family to take his body for burial two days later on the condition that they hold a “quiet funeral,” the report added.

“I stare at your picture and cry for hours every day,” the victim’s heartbroken mother wrote on Instagram accompanied by a video of his grave.

Protests ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police on September 16 have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic’s leadership since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

A wide range of Iranians have come out onto the streets, with some calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic and chanting “Death to (Supreme Leader Ali) Khamenei.”

As of Wednesday, riot police have been deployed in large numbers in Amini’s hometown of Saqez, Reuters reported, after activists called for protests across the country to mark 40 days since she died in detention over her “inappropriate attire.”

Witnesses in the capital Tehran and the cities of Tabriz and Rasht to the north also reported a heavy presence of security forces in the streets.

With Reuters

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