Iranian armed forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in the southeastern restive city of Zahedan on January 27, reports say, as thousands of people were rallying after Friday prayers amid a heavy security presence in the predominantly Sunni city.
Security forces fired live bullets and tear gas at the unarmed protesters, wounding an unknown number of them, according to witnesses, who said several people were also detained.
Footage obtained by IranWire shows protesters gathered outside the Grand Makki Mosque, chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic.
🎥 «سفره ما خالیه، خامنهای جانیه» شعار معترضان در #زاهدان. امروز ۷بهمن#مهسا_امینی #اعتصابات_سراسری #اعتراضات_سراسری #شهروندخبرنگار pic.twitter.com/uyV4pRefsU— ایران وایر (@iranwire) January 27, 2023
Security forces had set up fortified security posts and dug trenches across Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan province, in an apparent attempt to prevent residents from holding their weekly rallies.
Similar protests took place elsewhere across the province, with videos shared on social media showing large crowds of demonstrators in the city of Rask.
🎥 ویدیوهای منتشر شده از #راسک، حاکی از حضور معترضانی است که شعارهایی در حمایت از مولوی نقشبندی، و شعارهای ضد حکومتی چون «مرگ بر بسیجی» سر دادهاند. امروز ۷بهمن#مهسا_امینی #اعتصابات_سراسری #اعتراضات_سراسری #شهروندخبرنگار pic.twitter.com/cUz9ddKEle— ایران وایر (@iranwire) January 27, 2023
Each week on Fridays, thousands of people are taking to the streets across Sistan and Baluchistan amid a bloody crackdown by the Iranian authorities on a nationwide protest movement triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police.
Sistan and Baluchistan is an impoverished province that is home to Iran's Baluch minority of up to 2 million people. Human rights groups say the Baluch community has faced discrimination and repression for decades.
On September 30, security forces in the city killed 92 people, including 12 children, after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers, according to IranWire sources. Four security forces were also killed that day.