Friday , 7 October 2022

Mahsa Amini Protests: Sanandaj ‘Like a Military Zone’, Locals Report

Iranwire – Informed sources in the city of Saqqez, Kurdistan province, have told IranWire that on Tuesday evening at least 14 people attended hospital after being injured in street protests.

Major cities in the province are now under a heavy military-security presence

Among the wounded were many who were struck in the eye by pellets and plastic bullets. Several, the sources added, have lost their sight in one or both eyes. In some cases shots had been fired at demonstrators from very close range – as close as one meter away.

Two more Saqqez residents named Hiva Rasouli and Ahmad Zarei were arrested last night and taken to an unknown location, after scores of others were taken into custody on Monday. In Bukan, two journalist brothers, Masoud and Khosro Kordpour, were detained while covering the protests.

As was the case on Tuesday, security forces have been heavily deployed in the Kurdistan cities of Sanandaj and Saqqez. The latter is the hometown of “morality patrol” victim Mahsa Amini, whose death on Friday from injuries she sustained in custody sparked nationwide protests.

Civil rights activists in Sanandaj said vast quantities of military equipment and special units have filled the courtyard of the governor’s office today, as well as that of the Water and Sewerage Department and even the local customs office.

Armed officers and water cannons are also stationed around the city’s Ferdowsi and Eghbal Squares. One of the streets leading to Eghbal Square is currently playing host to two busloads of uniformed, armed security agents. A local told IranWire that the place felt “as if they’re on a military exercise”.

They added: “I personally saw the arrests of seven people [on Monday and Tuesday]. In one case, the detainee, who was a teenager of probably no more than 16 years old, was beaten so badly with a baton that his whole face was bruised and bloody.”

Another Sanandaj resident told IranWire: “They’re in such a rush to arrest people that they don’t wait for the police cars or vans to arrive. They will take people away on motorcycles – to God knows where.”

Last night in Sanandaj, eyewitnesses said, special forces units also flew two drones overhead in an attempt to identify civilians taking part. Several people also reported a number of unarmed women were beaten, punched and kicked by officers for no clear reason – one, potentially, for the provocation of wearing a white dress.