Protests in Iran: Amnesty says that up to 10 children were killed in the repression




CNN

10 people, including children, are feared dead in Iran’s security forces’ crackdown on protests in the country’s southeast on Friday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said.

In several Twitter posts on Friday, Amnesty said security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters “from the roofs of the governor’s office and several other buildings” in the city of Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan province.

The province, adjacent to Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to members of the long-oppressed Sunni Muslim ethnic minority and has a history of unrest.

The violence Friday comes amid protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after being arrested by moral police in Tehran.

Large demonstrations have recently taken place in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan state, following the alleged rape of a Baloch girl by a police chief.

Authorities last week removed Zahedan’s police chief, but protests continued and on Thursday, a senior Shiite cleric was shot dead by masked gunmen in Zahedan, according to the state news agency IRNA.

According to state media and activists, anti-authority protests turned violent on Friday in several cities in southeastern Iran, including Khash. A video of the city published by state media showed plumes of smoke rising from a building.

In its reports, Amnesty cited witnesses and images obtained from various sources.

The group said it was “gravely concerned” amid internet outages and reports of authorities bringing more security forces from Zahedan to Khash.

“Iranian authorities must withdraw their security forces immediately. UN member states should immediately raise their concerns with Iranian ambassadors and the UN Human Rights Council should support the establishment of an independent investigative mechanism,” Amnesty said.

The Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) also tweeted on Friday that at least 16 protesters were killed and dozens injured after Iranian security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Khash.

CNN cannot independently verify the death tolls provided by Amnesty or CCITTA. It is impossible for those outside the Iranian government to confirm the exact death toll. Figures vary according to opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.

A video shared with CNN by IranWire activists from Khash shows several injured and unconscious protesters on the ground after loud gunshots were heard in the background.

Meanwhile, the country’s semi-official Fars News Agency posted images on Twitter showing charred cars and damaged buildings, which it blamed on “accidents”.

“During the clashes in Khash, several people were killed and injured,” Fars tweeted.

“The government, Jihad Agriculture building and several other government buildings, several kiosks and police cars, people’s private cars and almost all banks were set ablaze by the riots,” Fars added.

Fars said Khash’s protests came after Friday prayers at a nearby Sunni mosque.