Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press.
Widespread outages of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government’s rolling crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday. Authorities also appeared to disrupt internet access to the outside world, a tactic that rights activists say the government often employs in times of unrest.
The demonstrations in Iran began as an emotional outpouring over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.
Her death has sparked sharp condemnation from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. The police said she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.
The protests have grown in the last four days into an open challenge to the government, with women removing their state-mandated headscarves in the streets and Iranians setting trash bins ablaze.
“Death to the dictator!” has been a common cry in the protests.
Demonstrations have also rocked university campuses in Tehran and far flung western cities such as Kermanshah.
In Amini’s home province in the northwest, Kurdistan, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire. In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, insisting that the bullets were not fired by Iran’s security forces.