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Iran protests escalate

People protested in front of government buildings in a north-west Iranian city after one of the biggest nights yet of demonstrations, BBC has reported.

The human rights group Hengaw said police shot dead a male protester in Mahabad and another in Sanandaj. The claim has not yet been verified.

Widespread unrest has rocked Iran since Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini died in police custody 40 days ago.

A cemetery near Kharamabad was also a flashpoint for Thursday’s protests.

Demonstrators gathered at the cemetery to mourn another young woman, Nika Shakarami, who disappeared soon after Amini’s death and has become another symbol of the protest movement.

Protesters chanting anti-state slogans, including “down with the dictator”, a reference to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Overnight, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in major cities, as well as other places where demonstrations had subsided recently.

It is the most serious challenge to the Islamic republic since its inception in 1979.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye; Editing by Tony Okerafor