An Iranian official has confirmed that several high school students arrested during the protests have been sent to reeducation camps to "educate and amend" their behavior after they were detained during anti-government demonstrations sparked by the death of a young woman in custody for allegedly wearing a headscarf incorrectly.
Education Minister Yousef Nouri told the Shargh daily on October 11 that the pupils had been sent to the camps, which he referred to as "psychological centers," to prevent them from turning into "anti-social people."
"We don’t have any students in prison, and if they are detained, they are sent to psychological centers where experts are doing their work so the students can return to the school environment after they have been reformed," he was quoted as saying.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini came while she was in custody after being detained by the so-called morality police.
Eyewitnesses say Amini was beaten, while officials have said she died of illness, though they have not provided any evidence to back up their claim.
Amini's death on September 16 has sparked nationwide anti-government protests, with many videos showing teenage students across the country waving their headscarves in the air and shouting defiant anti-government slogans.
In recent days, reports have surfaced of students being arrested in schools and videos on social media appeared to show some teenage protesters being assaulted by security forces.
Protests were reported again on October 12 in the cities of Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz and Rasht.
A large number of protesters have gathered in Valiasr Street, one of Tehran's main thoroughfares, chanting "Death to the dictator," a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who referred to the protests as "scattered riots" engineered by the West.
"These scattered riots are the passive and clumsy design of the enemy against the great and innovative developments and movements of the Iranian nation," Khamenei said on October 12.
He asked the judicial and security officials of the Islamic Republic to "do their duty" regarding the protesters.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on October 12 that at least 201 people, including 23 children, have been killed in the protests that have rocked Iran, and the Oslo-based group warned that more fatalities are likely in a continued "bloody crackdown."
The Iranian government has imposed a near-total Internet shutdown to try and quell the protests.
Netblocks, a London-based Internet observatory group, reportedanother "major disruption" to Internet traffic in Iran on October 12.
NetBlocks said Iran's Internet traffic dropped to some 25 percent compared to the peak, even during a working day in which students were in class across the country.
"The incident is likely to further limit the free flow of information amid protests," NetBlocks said.
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