Security Forces Kill More Protesters In Iran As Unrest Continues
Security forces shot dead at least three young protesters in the town of Izeh in Iran’s Khuzestan Province Tuesday night, as demonstrations erupted in several cities across the province for a sixth straight night.
People in Khuzestan, Iran’s oil-rich province first came into the streets July 15, demanding water and criticizing government mismanagement and ineptitude in solving multiple crisis in the country. Social media users have reported the killing of six protesters, all of them young men, in Ahvaz, Shadegan and Izeh since protests began. Four of the deaths have been confirmed by independent sources so far.
Protests Tuesday night took place in over a dozen cities and towns in the province including the capital Ahvaz and the strategic port of Khorramshahr. In some areas including Ahvaz and Izeh security forces fired at protesters.
One of the videos posted on Twitter shows hundreds of protesters chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a boulevard in Izeh, a city with a population of around 200,000, before darkness fell. Shots can be heard in the background. Another video shows protesters chanting the name of Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi Dynasty who began the ambitious modernization Iran in the first half of the 20th century.
The city of Izeh has a mixed population of ethnic Arabs and Bakhtiari's. In some videos protesters are seen chanting for solidarity between the two ethnic groups.
Security forces have also reportedly shot a young man in Khoramshahr. In a video on Twitter, a man standing in front of a hospital emergency unit and showing a bloodied jacket says his son was shot when he was returning from work.
Social media users also reported Tuesday night that internet access was cut off by two major mobile operators, IranCell and Hamrah-e Avval in Ahvaz, the capital of the province, and Shadegan, another town which has been the scene of protests in the last few nights.
The Revolutionary Guards-affiliated Tasnim News Agency Wednesday morning reported that a law enforcement officer had been killed by "rioters" while on a mission in Bandar-e Mahshahr, a major port city on the Persian Gulf.
Meanwhile, an official of the department of environment of Khuzestan said Wednesday that water freed from Karkheh Dam had reached Hawizeh marshes (Hour al-Azim) where drought has seriously affected local water buffalo breeder’s subsistence. Animals have reportedly been dying and miscarrying due to lack of water.
Wednesday morning social media users reported heavy presence of security forces at Tehran's Azadi square. On Tuesday a spontaneous anti-government protest broke out at Sadeghiyeh Metro Station to the north of the square. Hundreds of protesters chanted "Down with the Islamic Republic" and down with the institution of Supreme Leader.
Iranians in the past few years have increasingly come to blame Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the country’s multiplying problems and in past protests have chanted “Death to the dictator”.