Security tight at Kurdish town on strike in Iran    Sun. 7 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 07 – Iran’s State Security Forces and agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security have been on heightened alert on Sunday in the Kurdish town of Bukan, northwest Iran, following a general strike in the central bazaar and in many shops, residents reported.

The general strike was in protest to authorities’ violent crackdown on the restive Kurdish population in western
Iran. Over the past month, there have been continuous anti-government protests in Iran’s Kurdish region. A number of demonstrators were killed by agents of the SSF who were attempting to prevent an escalation of dissent.

Security on Sunday was tight and residents reported groups of SSF agents, Revolutionary Guards, Bassijis (paramilitary Islamic vigilantes loyal to the Supreme Leader) and agents of the dreaded Ministry of Intelligence at key locations throughout Bukan.

Armed agents of the SSF approached gatherings of more than two people in
Enghelab Street, Farmandari Square, Eskandari Square, Molavi Junction, Etelaat Junction and near the old hospital, witnesses said. Agents demanded proof of identity from people being questioned in these streets.

Police have set up checkpoints at many of the main routes into Bukan, in particular those coming from Saqqez, Mahabad, and Miandoab where much of the unrest has taken place.

Several journalists and a number of prominent human rights activists in
Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan have also been arrested over the past week for supporting protestors.