People across Iranian Kurdistan took to the streets in another day of anti-government protests on Saturday, October 8. There were strikes and demonstrations in Sanandaj, Mahabad, Kermanshah, Javanroud, Saqqez, Bukan, Baneh, Marivan and Divandareh.
The protests in Sanandaj and Saqqez were met with a swift and violent response from security forces. Protestors fought back, reportedly killing one officer, and burned piles of seized weapons and equipment.
Violent clashes in Sanandaj
According to reports received by IranWire from the provincial capital of Sanandaj, government forces targeted protesters with tear gas and live ammunition. Several protestors were reported to have been killed and many others injured. A source described the city as "a war zone”.
Demonstrations began at 10am and quickly spread across the city, erupting in 6th Bahman Street, Vakil street, the Sharifabad neighborhood, Safari, Ghafour, Ferdowsi, Hassanabad, and Madar Square. At one point the highway from Sanandaj to Marivan was blocked by protesters.
According to eyewitnesses, several protesters, including an elderly woman, were seriously injured by gunfire in Eghbal Square.
IranWire was told that one local man was shot dead in his car by the security forces on 6th Bahman Street just for sounding his horn continuously in support of protesters.
Local sources told IranWire that protesters retaliated for these actions.
One told IranWire that, in response to the violent actions of special forces and plainclothes agents, and claiming the right to self-defense, some protesters fought with agents and took their bulletproof vests, helmets, and a number of shields, batons and shotguns, which they then torched.
ویدیوی اختصاصی ایرانوایر؛ گرفتن و آتش زدن اسلحه و ادوات نظامی نیروهای یگان ویژه توسط معترضان سنندجی.— ایران وایر (@iranwire) October 8, 2022
#اعتصابات_سراسری #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/9ekh60qbEQ
According to this source, one of the special forces was killed during the clashes, but IranWire is unable to confirm this report.
According to another informed source, students in many girls' schools in Sanandaj joined the mass protests, chanting the slogans of "Women, life, freedom" and "Death to the Dictator".
Students beaten in Saqqez
Saqqez was Mahsa Amini’s birthplace. The city has been tense and security forces are omnipresent. A local source told IranWire that the Amini family house in the university district was “practically besieged” by plainclothes officers.
Students at Esmat Girls' School marched out of the school chanting "Death to the Dictator!" towards the Friday prayers mosque junction in the center of the city, where they were greeted with the widespread honking of car horns.
🎥دانشآموزان دختر معترض یکی از مدارس در شهرستان #سقز، زادگاه مهسا امینی، با سر دادن شعار اعترضات خود را آغاز کردند.#اعتصابات_سراسری #مهسا_امینی #اعتراضات_سراس pic.twitter.com/2U0kl3NKPd— ایران وایر (@iranwire) October 8, 2022
But special forces attacked them and beat the girls “spitefully and violently”.
"The attack of plainclothes forces on protesting people, especially the beating of the students of Esmat Girls' School with batons, was so violent that it can’t even be compared to the way special forces dealt with other protesters," the eyewitness told IranWire.
The witness added that protests and roadblocks had taken place at Nashmilan Junction, the junction of the Friday prayers mosque, Shahrbani Street, Karimabad, Moalem Street, Shohada Street, Esteghlal Square, Imam Street, and Jomhouri and Kurdistan Boulevards.
Protestors chanting "Death to Khamenei!" were met with bullets and tear gas from security forces. Two were reported killed and several others were injured.
And plainclothes agents went to health centers across the city and told them to shut down until further notice, according to the local source.
Shops shuttered and activists arrested in Marivan
Traders and businesses in Marivan closed on Saturday in support of the calls for a nationwide strike.
In response, the city’s Intelligence Department raided the homes of trade union activists. Agents arrested and detained Eskandar Lotfi, the spokesperson for the Association of Teachers Union.
An hour later, Masoud Nikkhah, a director of the association in Kurdistan, was also arrested after he was summoned to the department.
Security forces also raided the home of Shaban Mohammadi, a well-known trade union activist from Marivan and a member of the association, wanting to arrest him, but failed as he was not at home.