Iranian security forces opened fire on a protest sparked by the death of a student recently released from custody, rights groups and monitors said yesterday, with several people reported wounded.
The protests erupted late on Thursday night in the town of Abdanan, in the Kurdish-populated western province of Ilam, prompted by the death late last month of Bamshad Soleimankhani, 21, just days after his release from prison.
The Norway-based Hengaw group published images reported to be of protesters showing wounds from birdshot pellets, along with footage showing people in the streets with gunshots audible. It was not immediately possible to verify the images.
According to videos shared on social media, protesters chanted slogans such as ‘Death to Khamenei’. They also blocked some streets of Abdanan by setting fires and continued their protest with slogans like ‘We don’t want a child-murdering government’. “Twenty-five people were wounded in the protest,” Hengaw said.
Judicial and law enforcement officials in Abdanan in Ilam Province did not provide any explanation about the manner of Soleimankhani’s death until the start of a strike by some merchants in the city, the widespread presence of people marking a week since his death, and the beginning of night-time protests in Abdanan.
Soleimankhani had been active in the Amini protests but it was not immediately clear when and why he had been arrested, the 1500tasvir protest monitor reported.
The group said his family had noticed him foaming at the mouth and taken him to hospital after his release from custody, with doctors recording multiple fractures and cigarette burns to his body.
Nationwide demonstrations erupted in September, sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, arrested for allegedly flouting the country’s strict dress code for women.
The protests shook Iran’s clerical leadership, and while they have abated in recent months they continue sporadically.