Protesters clash with security forces in Iran’s Kurdish town    Wed. 3 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 03 – Violent clashes erupted between young people and security forces in the Kurdish town of Saqqez, northwest Iran, and a prayer hall and vehicles belonging to the police were set on fire on Wednesday, according to witnesses.

The windows of several banks were shattered as people threw sticks and stones at agents of the State Security Forces in Saqqez, situated in the
province of Kurdistan, a hotbed of anti-government protests.

The latest clashes come in the wake of a series of protests that have swept Kurdish towns and cities in
Iran for the past weeks. Dozens of protesters have been injured or arrested by government troops in several towns.

The semi-official daily Jomhouri Islami, which is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned in its Wednesday issue that “certain people are trying to bring turmoil to western
Iran in coordination with foreigners”.

“There are hidden hands at work to create chaos in the country through a well-planned coordination”, the daily added. It also reported “suspicious propaganda activities” against the theocratic regime in the south-eastern
province of Baluchistan.

Today’s unrest in Saqqez started at Oqab Square just before noon as angry protestors, who were in their hundreds, attacked a local Bassij post with sticks and stones. The Bassij are paramilitary Islamic vigilantes loyal to the Supreme Leader.

Protestors then split up into small groups attacking various government buildings including the governor’s office. The commander of the State Security Forces in Saqqez was also beaten by protestors.

Special anti-riot units of the Revolutionary Guards were brought in to put down the unrest and a number of demonstrators were arrested.