Following the death of a young woman in police custody, protests erupted in Iran for more than a week, according to official television, and at least 35 people have been slain.
According to state television and the Borna news agency, which is connected to the sports ministry, "the number of persons who perished in recent disturbances in the country has increased to 35 people."
The official death toll previously stood at 17, five of whom were security officers.
Since the passing of Mahsa Amini, protesters have gathered in Tehran and other major Iranian cities for eight nights in a row.
Three days after being detained for donning the hijab headscarf in a "improper" manner in the Iranian capital, the 22-year-old Kurdish lady was declared dead.
Thousands of people marched through Tehran during a pro-hijab rally Friday, paying tribute to security forces who have moved to quell a week of protests by what media called “conspirators”.
Demonstrations in support of the security forces also took place in several cities across the country including Ahvaz, Isfahan, Qom and Tabriz.
Amini died after spending three days in a coma after her arrest by Iran’s morality police, a unit responsible for enforcing the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Activists said she suffered a blow to the head in custody but this has not been confirmed by the Iranian authorities, who have opened an investigation.
On Friday night, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Amini had not been beaten.
“Reports from oversight bodies were received, witnesses were interviewed, videos were reviewed, forensic opinions were obtained and it was found that there had been no beating,” Vahidi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
The minister said the government was investigating the cause of Amini’s death, adding “we must wait for the final opinion of the medical examiner, which takes time”.
Vahidi criticised “those who took irresponsible positions… incited violence and followed the United States, European countries and anti-revolutionary groups”.