Monday , 26 February 2024

Security Forces’ Chokehold on Kurdistan After Province’s Day of Protest

Iranwire – Cities across Kurdistan faced an all-out assault from security forces today in the wake of mass protests on Monday over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Saqqez.

Local sources in Mahabad told IranWire that after crowds thronged the streets yesterday calling for an end to dictatorship in their country, large numbers of uniformed and plainclothes agents were dispatched to the city today to keep “order”.

In Mahabad and the provincial capital, Sanandaj, a blanket ban has been imposed on gatherings of more than two people. Residents reported that a vast number of officers had been brought in from outside Kurdistan.

Marivan was also the site of major protests on Monday that saw at least six people arrested and five seriously injured, though true numbers are likely to be far higher as many of the wounded in Iranian protests avoid hospital for fear of arrest. One of the detainees is understood to be Evin Rasti, a women’s rights activist.

Well-known activists in Marivan have since received calls and texts warning them to stay at home and not take part in demonstrations, on pain of “severe consequences”.

At least 15 people were also arrested in the city of Baneh yesterday. The human rights organization Hengaw reported that among the injured civilians was a 10-year-old girl who was left in a critical condition after being shot in the head.

City officials in Baneh met with the heads of hospital emergency departments at the governor’s head office today to plan so-called “urban control procedures” in case protests resumed.

Elsewhere in Bukan, local activists said the municipality had vowed all evidence of Monday’s protests would be “erased from the face of the city” from 2am today. A source told IranWire the governor had personally called a number of local activists asking them not to foment what he called “chaos” on the streets.

A hospital worker in Bukan also told IranWire that medical staff at his workplace had been warned not to share the number of people they had treated with outsiders, lest that lead to their identification and arrest.

Mahsa Amini died on Friday from injuries sustained to her head while in the custody of Tehran’s so-called morality police. She had fallen into a coma on Tuesday two hours after being taken away for “re-education”.

The home of Mahsa’s devastated family in Saqqez has been under surveillance since the weekend. Security agents kept watch over her burial and funeral rites and instigated a brutal crackdown on early demonstrations.

On Monday a young man named Fereydoun Mahmoudi was confirmed to have been killed by direct fire in Saqqez. At least 60 citizens have been arrested, including 17 women. Adults were transferred to Saqqez Central Prison and children aged under 18, who are believed to number more than 30, were taken to a juvenile correctional facility.

Two people, Mohsen Mohammadi and Fouad Al-Gadi, were killed in clashes in Diwandara yesterday. Today special forces had blocked most of the city’s main pedestrian arteries to prevent any possible gathering.

Local sources told IranWire the atmosphere in the city is “dire”. Dozens of civilians were injured yesterday and many are being treated at home, or even in strangers’ houses, for fear of arrest and possible torture by the authorities.

An unwritten martial law has also been imposed in Diwandara. So far the city’s hospital has acknowledged just treating 17 emergency patients on Monday and currently, no one is allowed to enter or leave without the permission of uniformed officers at the door.