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Iran deploys mounted police to suppress Mahsa Amini protests

According to videos posted online, Iran has deployed mounted police to contain more than seven weeks of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The state mentality has been rocked by a protest movement that erupted when Amini, 22, died after her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict hijab rules for women.

Young women have led the way by removing and burning their head coverings, chanting anti-regime slogans and confronting security forces in the streets, despite a crackdown that left dozens dead.

In a rare move, authorities have deployed a mounted police force on the streets of Tehran to stifle demonstrations, according to a video posted on social media and verified by AFP.

The special patrol unit stands in front of a row of Iranian national flags on a main road in the northwestern district of Sadeghiyeh.

The mounted division of the Iranian police, known as Asvaran, was established in 2013 and includes Turkmen and Arabian horses.

The cavalry unit has been seen on the streets of the Iranian capital in the past, mainly during parades, but it is unusual for it to be deployed during protests.

Amini, an Iranian of Kurdish descent, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by vice squad in Tehran, sparking nationwide protests.

Iranian authorities have employed a range of tactics to quell the protests, which officials refer to as “riots”.

Security forces have fired directly at protesters with live ammunition, birdshot, tear gas and even paintballs.

The government has also imposed internet restrictions, including blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp, and has launched a campaign of mass arrests.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights group says security forces killed at least 186 people in cracking down on the Amini protests.

At least 118 people have been killed in several protests since September 30 in Sistan-Baluchistan, a mostly Sunni Muslim province on Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan.

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