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Iran protests escalate amid funerals for children reportedly killed by regime

Iranian court sentences protester to death
Iranian court hands out death sentences to protesters, with thousands more awaiting trial 01:53

A wave of fresh protests erupted in Iran on Friday as the regime cut off internet access to multiple cities across the country, Iranian media and rights groups reported. The protests were reportedly sparked by the funerals of Iranian children killed by security forces, and they appeared to be gaining in intensity as Iran's hardline Islamic rulers face their most significant challenge in decades. 

Dozens of people attended the funeral of 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak in the city of Izeh. Video posted online shows Pirfalak's mother telling people at the ceremony that her son was shot by security forces on Wednesday. Iranian officials say Pirfalak was killed in a "terrorist" attack.

"Hear it from me myself on how the shooting happened, so they can't say it was by terrorists, because they're lying," Pirfalak's mother says in the video, according to the AFP news agency. She said security forces shot at her family's car. "Plainclothes forces shot my child. That is it."

People gathered at the funeral chanted "death to Khameni," another video showed, in reference to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Pirfalak was one of seven people killed during protests in Izeh this week, according to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

ICHRI said another child, 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi, was also killed by security forces in Izeh on Wednesday. A source close to his family told BBC Persian that he was shot in the head during a protest.

An opposition group said another 14-year-old, named Artin Rahmani, was also killed while he was protesting.

Iran cracks down on protesters as court reportedly orders executions 08:06

In the town of Khomein, protesters reportedly lit the home of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on fire, AFP reported, citing videos posted to social media. The home had been turned into a museum commemorating Khomeini. Later on Friday, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency denied the home was damaged.

At least 362 protesters, including 56 children, have been killed in the demonstrations that have rocked Iran since the killing in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September, according to Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). The group says 16,000 people have been arrested in connection with the protests. At least 8 have already been sentenced to death, CHRI says.

Initially led by women, the protests have grown into the largest anti-government demonstrations the regime has faced since it came to power in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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