RFL/RE – Tents set up last week by Iranian farmers in a dry river bed in Isfahan, Iran’s third-largest city, to protest against water cuts have been set on fire by riot police, and shots could be heard in the area.
The site was being “cleaned up” by the city’s municipality after the tents were set on fire overnight by Iranian security forces, reports said.
The protest movement started in Isfahan on November 8 and a number of demonstrators set up tents in the dried-up bed of the Zayandehrud River that passes through Isfahan last week.SEE ALSO:’Give Isfahan Life!’ Water Shortages Unleash Waves Of Protest In Iran
On November 18, thousands of people joined the Isfahan rally to protest against water cuts and the drying up of the river.
Last week, images broadcast on state television and videos published on social networks showed farmers and others from across Isfahan Province gathered in the dry river bed and elsewhere in the city, chanting slogans such as “Give Zayandehrud River back.”
First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber said that meetings were being held over the issue to try to resolve the water problem in Isfahan and elsewhere.
Similar protests have been held across Iran in recent years.
In July, deadly rallies broke out in the southwestern province of Khuzestan amid widespread water shortages.
The Iranian Meteorological Organization has estimated that 97 percent of the country is experiencing drought to some degree.
Mismanagement by the authorities has also been cited as a main cause for the water crisis.