Angry protests erupt in Iran’s Zahedan, three weeks after ‘Bloody Friday’ massacre

Demonstrators shout ‘Death to Khamenei’ and ‘unity, unity,’ in capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, where at least 93 were killed by forces during September 30 protest

Unverified video of a protest in Zahedan, Iran on October 21, 2022. (screen capture: Twitter)
Unverified video of a protest in Zahedan, Iran on October 21, 2022. (screen capture: Twitter)

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan, three weeks after dozens were killed in “Bloody Friday” protests, online videos showed.

“Death to the dictator,” the protesters, mostly young men, chanted Friday in reference to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei outside a police station, in footage shared widely on social media.

Iranian security forces killed at least 93 people who had gathered at the same location on September 30, Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said.

Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, is one of the few Sunni-majority cities in predominantly Shiite Iran.

“Death to Khamenei” and “Unity, unity,” the protesters shouted after Friday prayers in a video shared by Radio Farda, a US-funded Persian station.

The slogans echoed those chanted in nationwide protests over Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman of Kurdish origin who died in custody on September 16.

The police chief of Sistan-Baluchestan, Ahmad Taheri, said 57 “rioters” were arrested during Friday’s protests, state news agency IRNA reported.

The news agency said “thugs and rioters” had gathered after Friday prayers at Makki Mosque — headed by influential Sunni cleric Molavi Abdol Hamid.

It said they “shouted slogans and threw rocks at shops, cars and banks,” noting that “leaders and instigators” had been identified and investigations were underway.

Amini, 22, died three days after falling into a coma following her arrest in Tehran by the morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

Two weeks later, violence erupted in Zahedan during protests that were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander in the region.

Poverty-stricken Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a flashpoint for clashes with drug smuggling gangs, as well as rebels from the Baluchi minority and Sunni Muslim extremist groups.

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