Iranian police have said they are investigating a video that allegedly shows a member of their riot police unit sexually assaulting a woman protesting in Tehran, after widespread outrage over the video.
Footage recorded during a protest in Argentina’s capital square on Wednesday shows a woman being brutally detained and taken to a motorcycle in a street crowded with protesters and riot police. She is surrounded by four armed riot police, and one of them apparently inappropriately grabs her from behind. Then she sinks to the ground.
A woman’s voice could be heard behind the camera saying, “They’re pulling her hair.”
Tehran police said they are aware of the incident and have launched an investigation.
Officials said the woman, who managed to escape after passing motorists started honking at police, “incited the riot”.
The police did not provide details of what happened to the officer, but said that “enemies tried to cause public anxiety and incite violence with the help of psychological warfare.”
Iran has seen its biggest anti-government protests in years after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody.
A female protester from Tehran said the officers’ alleged behavior on Wednesday was “very normal for riot police.” They won’t admit it, but I’ve seen many such scenes on the streets.
“A few nights ago, they grabbed my girlfriend by the neck and pushed her into a police car.”
She said she was not shocked by the footage. “It’s one of many here on a daily basis. This time they were just shooting.”
According to her, riot police used insulting words to try to disperse the demonstrators. “I was once told, ‘You’re a whore,’ because I was chanting for the freedom of how I wanted to look on the streets. They told us a lot of sexual abuse in the last few weeks.”
In five weeks anti-government protests across IranThe authorities seem concerned about the scale and determination of the rebellion, and increasingly ruthless in their attempts to crush him.
Security forces used brutal force and live ammunition against protesters, and flooded Tehran and western Kurdish cities with riot police. More than 200 people, including 23 children, were killed, according to a human rights organization in Oslo.
Another protester from the central city of Karaj said the footage was “disgusting” and she could not watch it again. “They do it on purpose to stop women from coming forward, but they won’t succeed,” she said. “The more brutality we see, the more we will speak out. women do not want to live under the regime of repression.
“Every day, women face such abuse from regime forces. That’s why we take to the streets these days. There is a full-scale war on women in Iran, and we must fight for the freedom of our daughters. They are [authorities] this time they are very scared because most of the protesters are women; something they’ve never faced before.”
The movement is being nurtured online, where Iranian and foreign celebrities use social media show your supportand the powerful images carry the protesters’ messages beyond Iran.
Despite authorities blocking access to popular apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp, protesters called for mass protests on Saturday under the slogan: “The beginning of the end!”.
Footage from Tehran on Saturday showed mostly women gathering in several locations and chanting “death to the dictator”.
Solidarity actions were held abroad and in some Western countries imposed sanctions on Iranian officials and institutions accused of involvement in repression.
Joe Biden said Friday that he was “stunned” by the mass protests and this The US supported the “brave women” of the country.
Speaking at a rally at a college in Irvine, California, where demonstrators held signs reading “Free Iran,” Biden said: “I want you to know that we stand with the citizens, the brave women of Iran.
“For God’s sake, women should be able to wear what they want. Iran must stop violence against its own citizens by simply exercising their basic rights.”
On Friday, Tehran condemned comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, who expressed his “admiration” for “women”. [and] youth” who protested and said that France “condemns the repression” by the regime.
In Washington, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with activists from Iran on Friday and praised the “courage” of protesters who “continue to stand up for basic rights that the Iranian regime continues to deny them.”