DUBAI: Many Iranians are widely referring to Friday, Sept. 30 as “Bloody Friday” following violent crackdowns by Iranian security forces that resulted in the unlawful killing of 66 Balochi protesters demonstrating Mahsa Amini’s death.
Following the death of 22-year-old Amini, who reportedly died in custody after her arrest by Iran’s “morality” police, Sept. 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests began spreading across Iran last month, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Friday.
The report said Iranian security forces unlawfully killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds of others after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers after Friday prayers.
Since then, another 16 people were killed in separate incidents in Zahedan amid an ongoing clampdown on protests.
Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and will stop at nothing to preserve power.
“The callous violence being unleashed by Iran’s security forces is not occurring in a vacuum. It is the result of systematic impunity and a lacklustre response by the international community,” she added.
Evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that the majority of victims were shot in the head, heart, neck and torso, revealing a clear intent to kill or seriously harm.
Consistent with their previous pattern of denial and cover-up, according to Amnesty’s report, the authorities have under-reported the number of fatalities, announcing that 19 people, including bystanders and several members of the security forces, were killed during the protests in Zahedan on Sept. 30.
In an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for the deaths, the authorities have shared false narratives blaming the deaths on “terrorists,” “rioters” and “separatists,” whom they claim were acting for foreign governments.
Propaganda videos broadcast on state media after Sept. 30 have shown detainees, whom authorities allege were involved in armed attacks against security forces in Zahedan, with sacks over their heads.
The authorities have claimed that protesters had committed acts of looting and arson on public property.
Protests in Zahedan, Sistan and Balochistan province, populated by the long-oppressed Balochi ethnic minority, were scheduled to take place after Friday prayers on Sept. 30 as a show of solidarity with nationwide protests and to demand accountability for the reported rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the province.