Protesters In Tehran Mark Birthday Of Teen Killed In Crackdown

Protesters took to the streets of the Shahr-e Ziba neighborhood west of the Iranian capital, Tehran, late on April 5 to mark the birthday of Hamid Reza Ruhi, who was killed in the brutal state crackdown on anti-government protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her detention by the morality police.

Ruhi, a 19-year-old university student, was reportedly shot dead near his home in Tehran on November 18.

Amateur videos posted online on April 5 showed protesters chanting antiestablishment slogans, including “Death to the dictator” and “Hamidreza is not dead, it is Seyed Ali [Khamenei] who is dead,” while also calling for “freedom, freedom.”

Women protesting Ruhr’s killing removed their mandatory head scarves while chanting “woman, life, freedom.”

Reports said the protesters honored Ruhi amid the heavy presence of security forces around his home. Some reports suggested there had been clashes between security forces and protesters.

Ruhi’s brother said on social media that security forces had removed photos of the young man that the family had installed in front of their house to commemorate his memory on what would have been his 20th birthday.

More than 500 people, including children, have been killed in Iran’s crackdown on antiestablishment protests, rights groups have reported. An estimated 20,000 have been arrested.

Iran's judiciary has warned of harsh sentences for those found guilty of crimes during the protests, and so far at least four people have been executed in connection with the unrest.

The protests that rocked the country for several months have become one of the biggest threats to the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.

Iranian leaders have blamed the country’s foreign enemies -- especially the United States and Israel -- for the unrest.