Iranian authorities opened fire on protests in several cities throughout south-eastern Sistan and Baluchestan province on Friday, one year after riot police shot and killed at least 100 people, and wounding hundreds in a massacre.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran authorities wounded at least 19 protesters, including several children, during the protests marking the first anniversary of “Bloody Friday,” also known as the Zahedan massacre.
“Bloody Friday,” occurred in the wake of the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini while in Iranian morality police custody. Her death sparked nationwide protests against the regime that was widely regarded as the most serious challenge to the theocratic system since it was established in the wake of the 1979 revolution.
According to the country’s leading pro-democracy opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, at least 750 people overall were killed in that crackdown, within about three months of the uprising’s start. The PMOI, or MEK, also reported that upwards of 30,000 citizens were arrested during the same time span.
Despite repressive measures and a massive crackdown by the authorities, protesters have sustained the demonstrations in Zahedan every Friday since the September 30, 2022 massacre.
The Iranian authorities have repeatedly referred to the role of the MEK-affiliated “Resistance Units” in the unrests, describing them as “the leaders” of the protests.
Demands for regime change were prominent within the anniversary demonstration in cities of Zahedan, Rask, Khash, Sooran, Taftan with protesters chanting “death to Khamenei (referring to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei”, “death to this regime that commits rape and murder,” and “I will avenge my brother’s blood”.
The protesters also took direct aim at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Basij militia, which is considered primarily responsible for the killings on Bloody Friday as well as the broader death toll from the nationwide crackdown.
“Basiji, IRGC, you are our ISIS,” chanted some protesters in the face of expanded deployments that drew upon security forces and paramilitary fighters in neighboring provinces. Other efforts to suppress the demonstrations in advance included the establishment of at least 70 checkpoints in Zahedan and the dissemination of threatening text messages to countless local residents. The location of Friday prayers in Zahedan – the focus of mass shootings on Bloody Friday – was completely surrounded by security forces a day in advance of the protests. And yet thousands of citizens, mainly members of the local Baluch minority, showed up to take part in the demonstrations anyway, arguably reinforcing the activist message that public dissent has not been curtailed by violent suppression, despite a year of intensifying crackdown by the authorities.
Videos showed protesters carrying injured people under gunfire and unarmed protesters fleeing tear gas deployed by authorities near a mosque.
Protests continued into the night, with several videos posted online showing protesters setting fire to tires to block streets in Zahedan and other cities in the restive province.
Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi hailed the protesters. In a message on X (previously known as twitter), the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran wrote “Long live the courageous Baloch compatriots in #Zahedan, Rask, Khash, and other cities who rose up on the anniversary of Bloody Friday in Zahedan! With resounding chants of “death to Khamenei,” “my slain brother, I will avenge your blood,” and “death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the (mullahs’ supreme) leader,” they fearlessly confronted the repressive forces amidst gunfire and tear gas and valiantly honored the memory of their martyrs.”
Source » eureporter