Crowds of angry Iranians protested in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan on Friday to mark a September 30 crackdown by security forces, known as “Bloody Friday,” that claimed the lives of dozens of people.
Footage shows demonstrators chanting slogans against Iran’s clerical leadership in Zahedan, the provincial capital, as the regime struggles to suppress a nationwide protest movement triggered by the September 16 death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in the custody of morality police.
Riot squads violently clashed with the protesters in several cities in the province, with gunshots being reported. Several people were said to have been wounded.
The wave of protests that has convulsed Iran for weeks has posed one of the boldest challenges to the country's rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The rallies have included cries calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.
Sistan and Baluchistan, home to a Sunni Baluch minority, and western Kurdish regions have been the scene of some of the worst unrest.
On September 30 in Zahedan, security forces 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.
The incident -- the deadliest in the ongoing nationwide unrest -- followed days of angry rallies over the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police officer.
"Where did the military forces get trained to shoot people? Today it has become clear that people were killed unjustly," Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran's most prominent Sunni cleric, said in his Friday prayer sermon in Zahedan.
“Authorities must condemn this crime, and those who ordered [the events of] Bloody Friday and its perpetrators must be brought to trial."
The provincial security council claimed that armed dissidents had provoked the “Black Friday” violence, leading to the deaths of innocent people. It also admitted "shortcomings" and replaced the province’s police commander.
Amnesty International says it has recorded the names of at least 100 protesters, bystanders and worshippers, including 16 children, killed by security forces in Sistan and Baluchistan since September 30.
Across Iran, more than 300 people have been killed in the state crackdown since the nationwide wave of protests erupted in mid-September, according to human rights activists. Thousands of people have been arrested, with many detainees being subjected to torture. Dozens of security forces have also been killed, according to state media.