Police shoot dead protesters in northwest Iran    Tue. 2 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 02 Irans State Security Forces on Monday evening opened fire at a peaceful anti-government demonstration in the Kurdish town of Sanandaj, northwest Iran, killing several people including two children and starting riots throughout the town, eye-witnesses reported.

At least 1,000 people had gathered at
Esteghlal Park in the evening, peacefully demonstrating in protest to the brutal torture and murder of a young Kurd by police in the neighbouring town of Mahabad which had acted as a catalyst for widespread anti-government protests in Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan provinces for the past three weeks.

Protestors held up placards demanding justice for the killers of Shoan Qaderi. There were also chants against senior officials within Irans theocratic leadership.

Uniformed and plain-clothed police attacked protestors in
Enghelab Square and Sheshom-e Bahman Street and at one point started to shoot live rounds. Eye-witnesses reported that several people were injured or killed. Among the dead are believed to be two children.

As demonstrators dispersed, a full-scale riot broke out in Sanandaj. People threw stones to fight off police and burnt car tyres in the streets. Local banks were attacked and had their windows shattered.

Several sonic-booms were also set off in between protestors.

There is presently no accurate information on the number of people arrested, though witnesses reported heavy police presence in the town. Anti-riot units were also brought in from neighbouring towns to quell the protests.