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MercadoDeDinero | Iran curbs internet access as growing protests claim 11 lives

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Three security officers were stabbed or shot dead after they had been “mobilised to deal with rioters”, in Mashhad in the northeast, Qazvin in the centre and Tabriz in the northwest, Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday

Iran has blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp and imposed restrictions on internet as the death toll from days-long demonstrations rises, with security personnel among those killed. The demonstrations in Iran began over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its dress code. (AP) Iran has restricted internet access after days of protests that have claimed at least 11 lives, following the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police.

Three security officers were stabbed or shot dead after they had been “mobilised to deal with rioters”, in Mashhad in the northeast, Qazvin in the centre and Tabriz in the northwest, Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

A fourth member of the security forces was killed in the southern city of Shiraz, they said, adding that a protester had also been stabbed to death in Qazvin.

Iranian officials had previously confirmed the deaths of six demonstrators.

Four died in Kurdistan, the home province of Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death last week triggered the protests, and two in Kermanshah, another province with a large Kurdish community.

The Iranian authorities have denied any involvement in the deaths of protesters.

READ MORE: Iranian police call woman's custody death 'unfortunate' as protests erupt

Iran restricts access to Instagram amid protests in country over death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. Journalist Reza Hatami brings us the latest from Tehran pic.twitter.com/kndzjMBfy3

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 21, 2022 Internet restrictions

With no sign of the protests easing, Iran blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp and imposed drastic restrictions on internet access.

“In accordance with a decision by officials, it has no longer been possible to access Instagram in Iran since yesterday (Wednesday) evening and access to WhatsApp is also disrupted,” the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The two apps were the most widely used in Iran after the blocking of other platforms in recent years, including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok.

Internet access in Iran is heavily restricted by government filters and only those with VPNs can access uncensored content from overseas websites.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles on Thursday as the unrest intensified.

Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “unsuitable attire”. She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.

The incident unleashed huge anger in the population and the worst protests in Iran since 2019. Protests have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, with police using force to disperse protesters.

READ MORE: Protests spread in Iran amid concerns over deadly crackdown

Source: TRTWorld and agencies