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JAKARTA: Hundreds of Indonesians gathered outside the Iranian embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday, calling on Tehran to investigate the deaths of dozens of women and children killed by Iranian security forces during anti-regime protests in Classes.

The largest anti-government protests in Iran in more than a decade have grown since mid-September, spreading to all provinces and 80 cities. They were sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was arrested by Iranian morality police for not wearing her headscarf properly.

In recent weeks, Iranian authorities have intensified their crackdown on protesters. The Norwegian non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights estimates that at least 215 people, including 27 children, were killed.

Civil society organizations, activists and members of the Iranian diaspora who participated in Tuesday’s protest in Jakarta called on the Indonesian government to use its influence as the largest Muslim-majority country and help end to violence.

“We urge the Indonesian government to use its power as a country with the largest Muslim population in the world so that the Iranian government stops all forms of violence including the kidnapping and killing of its people who are calling for reforms in Iran,” Ririn Sefsani, a Jakarta-based women’s rights activist and one of the organizers of the protest, told Arab News.

Protesters were seen holding signs reading “Woman, Life, Freedom” – the phrase that has been used by protesters in Iran. Ten women were also seen cutting their hair in a symbolic act that has been embraced by many Iranian female activists in defiance of compulsory hijab rules.

“We hope our action will spread and strengthen the global solidarity movement for Iran,” Sefsani said.

Indonesian protesters also called for the release of Iranian journalists detained since Amini’s death. Of at least 31 journalists arrested, 21 are still behind bars, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Andreas Harsono, a veteran Indonesian journalist and one of the founders of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia, said they would continue to protest as long as their Iranian colleagues remained imprisoned.

“It will be difficult for any country, including Iran, when press freedom is silenced and journalists are imprisoned,” he said.

Joan J. Holland