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  • Tuesday, November 29

Iranian state television was hacked with the supreme leader’s image in the crosshairs

Iranian state …

Hackers supporting Iran’s women-led protest wave interrupted a state TV newscast with an image of crosshairs and flames over Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s face circulating online on Sunday.

In other anti-regime messages, activists have spray-painted “Death Khamenei” and “Police are the killers of the people” on public billboards in Tehran.

“The blood of our youth is on your hands,” read an on-screen message that flashed briefly during Saturday night’s television broadcast as street protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, again rocked Tehran and other cities.

“Police used tear gas to disperse crowds in dozens of locations in Tehran,” state news agency IRNA reported, adding that protesters “shouted slogans and set fire to and damaged public property, including a police booth.”

Anger has flared since Amini’s death on September 16, three days after the young Kurdish woman was arrested by the notorious vice squad for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

“Join us and rise up,” read another message in the TV hack claimed by the group Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice).

It also released images of Amini and three other women killed in the crackdown that claimed at least 95 lives, according to the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights.

Another 90 people were killed in Iran’s far south-east in riots on September 30 sparked by the alleged rape of a teenager by a police chief in Sistan-Balochistan province, the IHR said, citing the UK-based Baluch Activists Campaign.

A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed on Saturday in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, and a member of the Guard’s paramilitary Basij force died in Tehran from “a serious head injury following an armed attack by a mob,” IRNA said — in those killings increased the death toll among security forces to 14.

– “So many protests” –

Iran has been hit by the biggest wave of social unrest in nearly three years, with protesters, including students and even young schoolgirls, chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom.”

“Videos from Tehran show that there are so many protests, in every corner of the city, in small and large numbers,” US-based activist and journalist Omid Memarian said on Twitter.

In Amini’s hometown of Saqez, Kurdistan, schoolgirls sang and marched down a street, waving their hijab headscarves in the air, the Hengaw rights group recorded in videos Saturday.

The state’s often bloody response has resulted in gruesome footage circulating online despite widespread internet outages and lockdowns on every major social media platform.

A video shows a man shot dead at the wheel of his car in Sanandaj, the Kurdistan capital, where the province’s police chief Ali Azadi later accused him of being “killed by anti-revolutionary forces”.

Angry men then appear to get revenge on a member of the feared Basij militia by ambushing and brutally beating him in another widely shared video.

Another video clip shows a young woman who is said to have been shot dead in Mashhad in the northeast of the country.

Many on social media said it conjured up footage of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman who became an enduring symbol of the Iranian opposition after she was shot dead during protests in 2009.

– ‘No fear anymore’ –

Faced with violence and online restrictions, protesters have adopted new tactics to spread their message of resistance in public spaces.

“We are no longer afraid. We will fight,” read a large banner posted on an overpass of Tehran’s Modares highway, seen in images confirmed by AFP.

In other footage, a man with a spray can is seen changing the wording of a government billboard on the same highway from “Police are the servants of the people” to “Police are the people’s murderers.”

Several fountains in the Iranian capital are said to have been colored blood red, but the head of the city’s municipal parks organization, Ali Mohamad Mokhtari, said: “This information is completely false and there is no change in the colors of the fountains in Tehran”.

Iran has accused outside forces of fueling the protests as solidarity protests have been held in numerous cities around the world. The United States, the European Union and other governments have imposed new sanctions on Iran.

Regarding Amini’s death, Iran said on Friday that a forensic examination found she died from complications from a long-standing illness and not from a blow to the head, as activists have claimed.

Amini’s father told London-based Iran International that he dismissed the official report: “I saw with my own eyes that blood had come from Mahsa’s ears and the back of her neck.”

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