Iranian Protesters Come Out In Support Of Javanrud Residents

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Protesters in several western Iranian cities took to the streets overnight to support demonstrators in Javanrud, who have faced deadly attacks by security forces amid nationwide unrest over the death of 22-year-old student Mahsa Amini in mid-September.

Demonstrators in the Kurdish Iranian city of Mahabad were gathered in a local cemetery on January 2 to mark the end of the 40-day mourning period for Shemal Khadiripour, a young protester killed by security forces in ongoing anti-regime unrest.

After the ceremony, the protestors lit fires in several areas of Mahabad, blocked streets, and chanted anti-government slogans while expressing support for the people of Javanrud, who have faced off against Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces for three days.

Javanrud remains under strict security control after intense confrontations between protesters and the security forces on December 31 which left at least one person dead after people gathered to honor slain protesters, only to be pushed away by IRGC troops.

IRGC forces have since kept a heavy presence in the streets.

Video published on social media from the western Iranian city of Sanandaj showed protesters there setting fire to a government building late on January 2.

In the Iranian capital, Tehran, protesters could be seen tearing down pictures of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, who was killed by the United States in a drone attack in Iraq on January 3, 2020.

Protesters have been burning banners put up in various cities in Soleimani's honor, including the central Iranian city of Yazd.

The protests over Amini's death while she was in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly came after a summer of unrest across Iran over poor living conditions, water shortages, and economic difficulties resulting from crippling sanctions that the United States has imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

The activist HRANA news agency said that, as of January 2, at least 516 people had been killed during the unrest, including 70 minors, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda