The Iranian leadership is intensifying its crackdown on demonstrators in the Kurdish areas of the country.

According to a human rights organization, security forces shot protesters in Piranshahr, Marivan and Javanrud with live ammunition. The Norway-based organization Hengaw released videos on Monday of gunshots being heard. Hengaw’s figure of 13 deaths within 24 hours could not be independently verified.

The Oslo-based human rights organization Iran Human Rights (IHR) also published images showing security forces in the city of Piranshahr firing live ammunition. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), based in New York, described what happened in the city of Javanrud as a “massacre”.

Online monitor Netblocks, which monitors internet blocking around the world, spoke on Monday of a “significant disruption” to internet access during the recent protests. Access to the mobile Internet was interrupted for many users.

The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Iran. They make up around ten million of the 83 million inhabitants and the majority profess Sunni Islam. The Shiites are predominant in the country.

In Iran, since the death of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in mid-September, people across the country have been taking to the streets against the leadership in Tehran. The 22-year-old was arrested by the moral police because she is said to have worn her headscarf improperly. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. Activists accuse the police of abusing Amini.

The protests against the moral police quickly turned into demonstrations for more women’s rights and freedoms in Iran and for democracy in general. The security authorities are taking extremely tough action against the protests, most recently in the Kurdish areas in the north-west and west of the country.

On Monday, a police officer was killed and another injured in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, the provincial police chief told the Fars news agency. Accordingly, “criminals” shot out of a car in the provincial capital Sahedan, the perpetrators fled. The massive protests in Sahedan, which began at the end of September, were triggered by reports that a police officer allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl.