On Thursday, July 17, police clashed with protesters in Bukan, Western Azarbaijan after trying to break up a peaceful demonstration. Local residents and activists had gathered at the city’s main square to protest against a series of acid attacks against women.
On July 15, four women were taken to hospital after perpetrators threw acid on them. None of the victims were thought to have sustained serious injuries.
Kurdpa News Agency reported that women’s rights activists organized a silent protest to show solidarity with the victims, and to send a message to the assailants that they would not tolerate the spread of violence in their city. Cultural and civil activists joined the demonstration, as did a large number of the city’s residents.“Police forces tried to prevent the gathering,” Kurdpa reported, “but activists encouraged people not to succumb, as that would mean supporting the spread of violence.” A source told Kurdpa that undercover police tried to disperse the crowd and that there were “clashes between the security forces and some protesters.”
Kurdpa also reported that the governor general’s office had summoned prominent figures in the city in a bid to prevent the demonstration from taking place.
In an attempt to quell fears over the recent attacks, the social and political deputy at the office of the governor general told Bukan website on July 16 that a suspect had been arrested “less than 22 hours after the attack, with the help of all related military forces.”
The next day, the police chief of Western Azarbaijan, Naser Aslani, gave a different account. Speaking to the Iranian Students' News Agency, Aslani said that four people had been responsible for the attacks. “They were identified and arrested at their hiding place outside Bukan. Following the interrogation of the suspects, they all confessed to their crimes. They described their motive as psychological instability due to consumption of psychedelic drugs.”
In 2014, at least 10 women were attacked in Isfahan, resulting in widespread panic and fear across the city. Despite promises to identify the perpetrators, no arrests were made. Authorities denied the attacks had anything to do with cultural or religious friction in the city, and dismissed rumors that Islamist vigilante groups bent on enforcing “proper hejab” were behind the attacks.
Read the original article in Persian