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Harsh clampdown on intensifying anti-regime protests in Iran

Harsh clampdown on intensifying anti-regime protests in Iran
Citizens also report heavy disruption in internet services across Khuzestan.
posted onMay 30, 2022

Authorities in Iran have been using excessive force to clamp down on the country's growing anti-regime protests in recent days, videos received show.

The protests have been most intense in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, especially in the city of Abadan, where they first erupted last week over mass casualties caused by collapse of the Metropol tower block on Monday, May 23.

Additionally, gatherings and demonstrations have been widely held across the country to commemorate the victims in solidarity with Abadan, including in the cities of Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, Mashhad, Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, Shahinshahr, Qom, and many parts of Khuzestan.

Apart from Abadan, footage received show anti-regime protests also in other cities, including Ahvaz, Bushehr, Omidiyeh, Khorramshahr, Andimeshk, and Mahshahr.

In many of the videos, protesters can be heard chanting against regime's top officials.  Among the slogans chanted include: "Death to the Dictator", "Death to Khamenei", "Death to Raisi", "Khamenei/Raisi, have some shame, let go of the country", "Khamenei is a killer, his rule is illegitimate", "Our enemy is right here, not as they say the US", "Get lost Basiji" and "Cannon, tank, firecracker, mullahs must get lost".

The protests in Abadan have been ongoing and intensifying over the last week after authorities failed to send rescue teams in time to save the scores of people trapped under the fallen building.

Video received by Avatoday on Monday night shows protesters chant death to dictator in a reference to the Islamic Republic Leader Ali Khamenei.

According to Iran's media, at least 80 people were in the building when it collapsed, although some witness accounts place the figure over a hundred. Iranian authorities have been cautious about releasing the true casualty toll, the most recent figures announced are 31 dead, 37 injured.

Based on videos circulating online, the locals of Abadan are continuing to dig through the rubble, with no help from rescue workers, desperately trying to find those buried.

Tehran has been negligent in sending relief, deploying a great number of anti-riot forces to crush the demonstrations instead. This has further angered the public, who already held the regime responsible for the systemic corruption and incompetence that led to the building's collapse.

Reportedly, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly incident, although the person directly responsible, the building's owner Hossein Abdolbaghi, has been allegedly helped to flee the country.

On Sunday night, the people of Abadan took to the streets in their thousands again, mourning the dead and chanting against the regime. They were accompanied by masses of Khuzestan's Arab people, many of whom had come from outside the city to support Abadan.

Videos received from Sunday night show large numbers of state forces, including those appearing to be IRGC's Basij, armed with guns and batons, trying to disperse the crowds on foot and motorcycles, firing shots and tear gas towards fleeing protesters.

In some of the videos young adults are seen reacting to the force used by throwing stones and shouting. Some videos are taken by protesters as they flee, in some people say state forces are firing directly at the crowd. There are also images showing injuries from pellet shots.

The number of casualties caused by the clampdown is not known so far, although unconfirmed reports say four have been injured.

Citizens also report heavy disruption in internet services across Khuzestan.