Police clash with Iran protesters in London and Paris

French and British police officers try to prevent demonstrators in their capital cities from reaching Iran’s diplomatic missions.

Demonstrators hold placards outside the Iranian embassy in London [File: Alastair Grant/AP]

Police clashed with demonstrators trying to reach Iran’s embassies in London and Paris.

French police fired tear gas and used anti-riot tactics to prevent hundreds of people protesting in the capital from marching on Tehran’s diplomatic mission on Sunday.

In London, police said they made 12 arrests and five officers were “seriously injured” as demonstrators tried to break through barriers protecting Iran’s UK embassy.

The demonstrators in Paris gathered for the second day running to express outrage at the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Iran’s morality police – and to show solidarity with the deadly protests that erupted in Iran.

Similar rallies in support of Iranian women have occurred around the world.

The demonstration began peacefully at Trocadero Square in the centre of the French capital. Some protesters chanted “Death to the Islamic Republic” and slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But police in full anti-riot armour, backed by a line of vans, blocked the path of the protesters as they sought to approach the Iranian embassy a short distance away. Police then fired tear gas.

In a statement, Paris police said “on several occasions groups tried to break through the roadblock set up near the Iranian embassy. The police used … tear gas to repel them.”

They said about 4,000 people gathered for the demonstration. One person was arrested for “outrage and rebellion” and one officer was slightly hurt, said police.

Iranian protesters
People take part in a demonstration in support of Iranian protesters in Paris [File: Christophe Archambault/AFP]

Breach police lines

The use of tear gas angered activists already upset by President Emmanuel Macron’s talks and public handshake with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week.

“Police used tear gas to disperse Iranian protesters in Paris in an effort to protect the Islamic Republic embassy,” tweeted the US-based Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad.

Nina, a Paris-based French-Iranian who asked that her last name was not given, said “Iranians are fully mobilised”.

“We must react given that we are far from our homeland, our country. It’s really time we all come together so we can really speak up so the whole world can really hear our voice,” she added.

Similarly tense scenes took place in London, where images posted on social media showed protesters seeking to break through police security barriers outside the Iranian embassy there.

London’s Metropolitan Police said, “masonry, bottles and other projectiles were thrown and a number of officers were injured. At least five are in hospital with injuries including broken bones”.

Earlier, police said a large number of protesters had gathered outside the embassy “with a substantial group intent on causing disorder”.

Source: AFP