Unrest erupts near Iranian embassy in London over death

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Demonstrators hold placards outside the Iranian Embassy in London, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. They were protesting against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in Iran while in police custody, who was arrested by Iran's morality police for allegedly violating its strictly-enforced dress code. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON – Violent street protests erupted outside the Iranian embassy in London on Sunday, with rocks thrown at police and five protesters arrested.

Large crowds have been gathering all week outside the Knightsbridge compound in protest against the death in Iranian police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iran. She had been arrested by Iran's morality police for allegedly breaking headscarf rules and died on Sept. 16.

London’s Metropolitan Police said that “a substantial group" of the large crowd were "intent on causing disorder” and confirmed that reinforcements had been called in when protesters tried to break police lines and storm towards the embassy compound.

A number of police officers were injured in the skirmishes though none seriously, and some arrests were made for violent disorder.

The London street protest comes at a time of growing hostility between Britain and Iran over the death in custody of Amini. The Iranian police said she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website said it summoned Simon Shercliff, the U.K.‘s ambassador to Iran, on Saturday and protested the hosting of critical Farsi-language media outlets. The ministry alleges the news outlets have provoked disturbances and the spread of riots in Iran at the top of their programs. Protests over Amini’s death have spread across at least 46 cities, towns and villages in Iran.

Iran said it considers the news agencies’ reporting to be interference in Iran’s internal affairs and acts against its sovereignty.

The beefed-up police operation in the vicinity of the Iranian Embassy in London's Princes Gate will remain in place.