Iranian authorities have continued a brutal campaign of attacking children to squash protests calling for social freedom and political change following the death two months ago of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of morality police, Iranian lawyers and human rights activists told The New York Times.
Iranian authorities have targeted thousands of minors. According to the United Nations, 14,000 people have been arrested, with rights activists reporting at least 50 minors killed.
"What makes these protests different," Diana Eltahawy of Amnesty International says, "is children are much more visibly present, displaying a bold determination to defy the establishment and ask for a better future for themselves. And they are using all the tools of repression at their disposal to crack down on them."
Schools, while once considered a safe haven for children, The Times reports that plainclothes militia and intelligence agents have conducted 23 raids across schools in Iran.
In one instance last month, security forces threw tear gas at kids during recess for chanting anti-government slogans, according to one parent who attends the school.
"My children are not safe on the streets, and they are not safe in school anymore. Everyday I die from anxiety until they get home," Sara, a 50-year-old mother of two, said.
According to activists and media reports, some children have disappeared entirely.
"They have never respected or accepted the concept of children having any rights," Bahram Rahimi, a founding member of Iran's Committee to Protect the Rights of Children, said. "Even the most conservative families are infuriated at the way they are targeting children."
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