Iranian cities are on strike in solidarity with those killed on Bloody Friday

Iranian cities are on strike in solidarity with those killed on Bloody Friday


Cities in western Iran went on strike Wednesday in solidarity with mourners, marking 40 days since security forces killed dozens in a crackdown on protests in the country’s riot-torn southeast, a rights group said.

Security forces opened fire on protests that broke out on September 30 after weekly prayers in Zahedan, the capital of the volatile Sistan-Balochistan province on Iran’s border with Pakistan.

It came two weeks after demonstrations erupted across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin, after she was arrested in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict hijab dress code for women would have.

The crackdown on nationwide protests since her death has killed at least 304 people, including 41 children and 24 women, according to a combined toll issued by the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

In a video shared by social media channel 1500tasvir, activists were seen calling for protests in all cities on Wednesday for the 40-day mourning ceremony of Zahedan’s “Bloody Friday.”

Widespread strikes are underway in the western Kurdish cities of Baneh, Kermanshah, Marivan, Sanandaj and Amini’s hometown of Saqez, the Hengaw rights group said.

The walkout is being “committed in solidarity with those who died in Zahedan on the 40th anniversary of their death,” said the Norway-based group, which monitors abuses in Kurdish areas.

A video posted online by activists showed closed shops in Saqez and in Zahedan itself.

The violence that broke out in Zahedan on September 30 was triggered by the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the port city of Chabahar, Zahedan province.

– ‘Mass murderer’ –

Security forces opened fire on men who took to the streets after leaving mosques after weekly Friday prayers, killing dozens.

“What happened this Friday … in Zahedan is a clear case of mass murder of civilians under international law,” Hengaw said.

“This mass murder must be recognized by international organizations and Western governments,” she tweeted.

IHR said at least 92 protesters were killed on September 30 in Zahedan, one of the few Sunni-majority cities in predominantly Shia Iran.

Since then, at least 28 other people have been killed in protests in Sistan-Balochistan, she told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

The poverty-stricken province of Sistan-Baluchistan has been a flashpoint for clashes with drug-smuggling gangs, as well as Baloch minority rebels and Sunni extremist groups.

Activists have long lamented that the region has fallen victim to discrimination by Iran’s Shia clerical leadership, with disproportionate numbers of Baloch killed in clashes and also hanged in executions each year.

The latest executions were announced on Wednesday.

The judiciary’s website Mizan Online said two men, Rashid Baluch and Eshaq Askani, were executed on Tuesday after being convicted of killing four police officers in 2016.

They were said to be members of the “terrorist group Jaish al-Adl” (Army of Justice).

– death threats –

The protests over Amini’s death have shown no sign of abating despite the bloody crackdown and a campaign of mass arrests that has hit artists, journalists and lawyers.

Young women lead the way, removing and burning their hats, chanting anti-regime slogans and confronting security forces in the streets.

Iran has used a variety of tactics to quell the protests, which have become the biggest challenge to clerical leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Security forces have fired live ammunition, bird shot, tear gas and even paintballs directly at protesters.

Authorities have also imposed internet restrictions, including blocking access to Instagram and WhatsApp, and even deployed mounted police on the streets of Tehran to quell the protests.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was accused this week of making death threats against two journalists working for the London-based Persian-language TV channel Iran International.

The Saudi Arabia-affiliated channel’s owner, Volant Media, said the couple had received formal “warnings of credible threats to their lives” and those of their families from London’s Metropolitan Police.

In response, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib warned Britain it was “paying for” what it describes as measures to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

Khatib also accused Iran’s major regional rival Saudi Arabia of funding media outlets behind the wave of unrest, state news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday.

More to explorer