World

Iran deploys mounted police to quell Mahsa Amini protests


PARIS: Iran has deployed mounted police in an attempt to stop more than seven weeks of protests sparked by death in custody Mahsa Aminiaccording to the video posted online.
The state was rocked by a protest movement that erupted when 22-year-old Amini died after being arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict hijab regulations for women.
Young women led the way, removing and burning headscarves, chanting anti-regime slogans and confronting security forces on the streets despite a crackdown that left dozens dead.
In a rare move, authorities deployed a team of mounted police on the streets of Tehran to stop the protests, according to a video posted on social media and verified by AFP.
The special operations unit on patrol was seen standing in front of rows of Iranian flags on a major road in the northwestern neighborhood of Sadeghiyeh.
Formed in 2013, the mounted division of the Iranian police force – known as Asvaran – consists of Turkish and Arabian horses, among others.
In the past, the cavalry unit has been seen on the streets of the Iranian capital, mostly in parades, but is rarely seen deployed in demonstrations.
Amini, an Iranian of Kurdish descent, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by ethics police in Tehran, sparking nationwide protests.
Iranian authorities have adopted a range of tactics to suppress the protests, which officials have called “riots”.
Security forces shot directly at protesters using live ammunition, birds, tear gas and even paintballs.
The government has also imposed internet restrictions, including blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp, and launched a mass arrest campaign.
Norway-based Iran Human Rights Group says security forces have killed at least 186 people in their campaign to crack down on protests in Amini.
At least 118 others have lost their lives in apparent protests since September 30 in Sistan-Baluchistan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim province on Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan.

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