More than a month of protests continued Friday in Iran with protesters clashing with security forces in the southeastern city of Zahedan.
Video footage on social media showed protesters Friday in the city, which is close to Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, calling for death of the “dictator”—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—and the Basij militia, which has played a major role in the crackdown on demonstrations.
Amnesty International reports 66 people were killed in Zahedan on September 30 when security forces cracked down on anti-government rally there.
The Associated Press reports Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency Friday carried a statement from the province’s security saying the police chief another police official in Zahedan have been dismissed over their handling of the September 30 protest.
Nationwide protests and strikes, now in their fifth week, started after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for an alleged dress code violation. Protesters in cities across the country have opposed the mandatory wearing of hijabs by women and called for changes to Iran’s political system.
Meanwhile, large crowds were marching across cities in Iran to condemn a mass shooting at a Shiite Muslim shrine in the southern city of Shiraz after Wednesday evening prayers that state media said killed at least 15 worshippers. It is an attack claimed by the Sunni extremist group Islamic State.
Iran’s president on Thursday claimed “riots” sparked by Amini’s death paved the way for “terrorist” attacks.
Also on Friday, the chief spokeswoman for the U.N. Human Rights Office told reporters Friday the group has received information that protesters arrested by security forces in Iran are being treated poorly, and their families have been harassed.
Responding to a question during a news briefing in Geneva, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said their team has received reports from multiple, credible sources that authorities were moving injured protesters from hospitals to detention facilities. There also were reports of ill treatment of detained protesters, including denial of medical care to those in places of detention.
She said the human rights office calls on Iran to ensure all protesters are given the medical attention they need.
International observers say the ongoing demonstrations have become the greatest threat to the country’s theocratic government since the 2009 Green Movement demonstrations.
Women continue to remove their hijabs during the street protests as international pressure grows on Iran’s government over its crackdown on demonstrators.__VOANews