French police use tear gas on Iran protesters in Paris

French police use tear gas on Iran protesters in Paris
French police use tear gas on Iran protesters in Paris

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People face riot police as they take part in a demonstration in support of Iranian protesters in Paris, on September 25, 2022. — AFP pic

PARIS, Sept 26 — French police on Sunday used tear gas and employed anti-riot tactics to prevent hundreds of people protesting in Paris from marching on Tehran’s embassy, AFP reporters and eyewitnesses said.

In London meanwhile, police made several arrests as officers clashed with protesters trying to break through barriers protecting Iran’s UK embassy.

The protesters in Paris had gathered for the second day running to express outrage at the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Iran’s morality police last week — and to show solidarity with the protests that have erupted in Iran.

The demonstration had begun peacefully at Trocadero Square in the centre of the capital. Some demonstrators chanted “Death to the Islamic Republic” and slogans against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But police in full anti-riot armour, backed by a line of vans, blocked the path of the protesters as they sought to approach the Iranian embassy a short distance away.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

In a statement, Paris police confirmed that tear gas had been used saying “on several occasions groups tried to break through the roadblock set up near the Iranian embassy. The police used... tear gas to repel them.”

They said some 4,000 people had gathered for the demonstration. One person was arrested for “outrage and rebellion” and one officer was slightly hurt, said police.

Breach police lines

The use of tear gas angered activists already upset by President Emmanuel Macron’s talks and public handshake with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week.

“Police used tear gas to disperse Iranian protesters in Paris in an effort to protect the Islamic Republic embassy,” tweeted the US-based Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad.

“Meanwhile, @EmmanuelMacron shook hands with the murderous president of Iran.”

Protesters also repeated the viral Persian chants used by protesters inside Iran such as “zan, zendegi, azadi!” (woman, life, freedom!) and also its Kurdish equivalent “jin, jiyan, azadi!” Amini, also known as Jhina Amini, was Kurdish.

“In view of what is happening, we Iranians are fully mobilised,” said Nina, a Paris-based French Iranian who asked that her last name was not given. “We must react given that we are far from our homeland, our country.

“It’s really time we all come together so we can really speak up so the whole world can really hear our voice,” she added.

Similarly tense scenes took place in London, where images posted on social media showed protesters seeking to break through police security barriers outside the Iranian embassy there.

London police said a large number of protesters had gathered outside the embassy, “with a substantial group intent on causing disorder.”

“Further police resources were brought in to support those on the ground after protesters attempted to breach police lines and had thrown missiles at officers,” the police said in a statement.

Police made five arrests and several officers received minor injuries, the statement added. — AFP

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