Mahabad, Iran, Jul. 16 – Unrest continued in the north-western town of Mahabad, Iranian Kurdistan province, last night, with clashes erupting between locals and State Security Forces, following a week of similar anti-government protests which flared up after news broke out of the brutal murder of a young Kurdish man by the SSF.
Yesterday evening, close to 1,000 people gathered in the main path leading to Independence Square and started to march forward. They were joined quickly by several thousand of the local population and together they started chanting anti-government slogans and burning tyres. As they crowded Independence square, chants of “Death to Khamenei” could be heard, referring to the clerical state’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Chants of “Shoan, we will continue your struggle” echoed in the square.
On Sunday, agents of the SSF opened fire on Shoan Qaderi and two of his friends in an avenue near Independence Square. The security forces then proceeded with tying Qaderi’s body to a Toyota jeep and while driving dragged him in streets, according to eye-witnesses.
Witnesses said that the act was carried out because Qaderi was active in anti-government protests and authorities wanted to intimidate the local population to prevent further demonstrations in the volatile city.
Minutes after Qaderi’s body was dragged throughout the town, several hundred angry residents gathered in nearby streets and started to chant anti-government slogans.
Last night’s demonstration was met with swift and fierce retribution by anti-riot forces already stationed there to prevent a re-emergence of dissent. The SSF fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Several protestors including a child were gravely wounded and were driven to a local hospital by fellow demonstrators. A number of SSF agents were also injured. At least a dozen people were detained and taken to unknown locations.
Gasoline was poured onto the ground and set alight at several locations surrounding the square to stop the sting of the tear gas.
As the violence escalated, protestors set an SSF vehicle and several nearby government buildings on fire. Clashes ensued until well after midnight.
Several hundred people have been arrested over the past week during numerous hit-and-run clashes and house-to-house raids.
Several other large anti-government demonstrations have rocked the town of Mahabad in recent month.
100 arrested, 60 buses damaged in Iran city protests
Tehran, Iran, Jul. 16 – At least 100 demonstrators were arrested and 60 buses damaged in clashes that erupted Saturday after a football match in Iran’s second largest city.
Security forces and young people clashed over a large area of the city of Mashad after a football match between Saba Battery and Abu-Moslem football clubs.
Clashes began as supporters of the Mashad-based Abu-Moslem booed the referee for what they said was an unfair penalty. As security forces moved in to put down the protest, protesters began throwing stones and using flagpoles to push back the truncheon-wielding policemen.
Skirmishes spilt out of the stadium and into the surrounding districts, as the protest took on a political hue with young people chanting, “guns, tanks and [the paramilitary] Bassijis are no longer effective”.
The clashes in Mashad mark the third large-scale confrontation between security forces and young people in Iranian cities in less than a week since the inauguration of a hard-line Revolutionary Guards commander as the chief of the police. Brigadier General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam vowed upon assuming responsibility for Iran’s law enforcement forces that he would crack down on all “enemies of the Islamic Republic”.
Football matches often provide an arena for Iran’s frustrated youth to vent their anger at the Islamic regime. At least seven people were killed in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium when clashes erupted after a World Cup qualifier between Iran and Japan. An inquiry into the deaths blamed the security forces.