Iran Protesters Call for Three-Day Strike From Monday

Shops are closed following the recent riots and the call of protesters to close the markets, in Tehran Bazaar, Nov. 16. (WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo)

DUBAI (Reuters) – Protesters in Iran called on Sunday a three-day strike this week as they seek to maintain pressure on authorities over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, with protests planned on the day President Ebrahim Raisi is due to address students in Tehran.

Raisi is expected to visit Tehran University on Wednesday, celebrated in Iran as Student Day.

To coincide with Student Day, protesters are calling for strikes by merchants and a rally toward Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, according to individual posts shared on social media.

They have also called for three days of boycotting any economic activity starting on Monday.

Similar calls for strike action and mass mobilization have in past weeks resulted in an escalation in the unrest which has swept the country – some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution

The activist HRANA news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It said 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.

Iran’s Interior Ministry State Security Council said on Saturday the death toll was 200, according to the judiciary’s news agency Mizan.

The nationwide protests began after Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, died in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16.

Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh daily say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities apparently try to avoid provoking more protests.

On Saturday Iran’s Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was cited by the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying that the morality police had been disbanded.

“The same authority which has established this police has shut it down,” Montazeri was quoted as saying.

Iran’s Interior Ministry, which is the authority in charge of the morality police, has yet to comment on the status of the force, which is tasked with monitoring Iranians’ clothing and public behavior.

Montazeri said the morality police was not under the judiciary’s authority, which “continues to monitor behavioral actions at the community level.”

Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would not change its mandatory hijab policy, nor the way it enforces this policy.

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