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Protests in southwest Iran over water shortage


Jul 10, 2017
Protests in southwest Iran over water shortage
Worker protests have broken out in multiple locations around the country in recent weeks, as municipalities and employers fail to pay employees
MAY 25, 2020 12:43

People protest against increased gas price, on a highway in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Security forces attacked protesters in Ahvaz in southwest Iran after a crowd of residents blocked a road in protest against the cut-off of drinking water in the area.

The residents of the rural Gheizaniyeh district of Ahvaz initially gathered in front of the district-governor's office on Saturday before blocking the Ahvaz-Gheizaniyeh road with burning tires, according to the Iran Human Rights Monitor.

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Two residents were arrested in the protest after police stormed the crowd in riot gear in an attempt to reopen the road, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, according to Iranian daily Mardomsalari (Democracy). Photos shared by dissident groups in Iran showed protesters with wounds on their legs.

Two police officers were injured after protesters attacked them, said Ahvaz police chief Colonel Mohsen Dalvand to Mardomsalari.

Dalvand explained that most of the protesters left the road after police asked them to, but that those who acted illegally were dealt with legally.

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large protests last November after a local poet who was known for his criticisms of the Iranian government died and rumors spread that he was poisoned by security forces.

The protests in November spread throughout Iran, with hundreds killed and thousands arrested as Iranian security forces violently cracked down on protesters. Internet access was shut off in many areas.

In May 2018, hundreds of people were arrested in Ahvaz amid protests against water and power cuts, poverty and alienation.

Ahvaz is the regional capital of the ethnically diverse southwestern Khuzestan province, home to most of Iran's Arabs.

In related news, worker protests have broken out in multiple locations around the country in recent weeks, as municipalities and employers fail to pay employees, according to Radio Farda.

In Arvand Kendar, also located in the Khuzestan Province, over 50 municipal workers protested a five-month delay in the payment of their wages. The mayor of Arvand Kenar told Iran's IRNA news that the municipality has over 80 more employees than it actually needs and was up to 25 billion rials in debt to the Social Security Organization when he took office.

Municipal workers in Khorramshahr, also in Khuzestan, protested a four-month delay in the payment of their wages last week, according to Radio Farda.

Nurses and medical workers have also staged several protests against the government's failure to pay their wages and other "discrimination," especially after their work during the coronavirus outbreak.

Hundreds of workers have been jailed and some have been tortured in past years, according to Radio Farda.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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