Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets across in Sistan and Baluchestan on January 13, as Iran’s Shia clerical rulers have intensified repression on dissent in the restive southeastern province.
The anti-government protest movement that has rocked Iran for nearly four months and the accompanying bloody state crackdown on dissent have been particularly intense in western Kurdish areas and Sistan and Baluchistan.
The impoverished province is home to Iran’s Sunni Baluch minority of up to 2 million people. Human rights groups say members of the community have faced discrimination and repression for decades.
Footage obtained by IranWire shows protesters in the provincial capital, Zahedan, and other cities chanting “death to the dictator,” in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and “I’ll kill whoever killed my brother.”
The demonstrators can also be heard shouting slogans against Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Each week on Fridays, hundreds of people are taking to the streets across Sistan and Baluchestan despite the heavy presence of security forces, chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic.
Activists say at least four ethnic Baluch men have been sentenced to death over the past few days alone. According to the latest information available, at least 81 were hanged over the last four months of 2022.
Zahedan has seen the deadliest violence so far in the ongoing nationwide protest movement. On September 30, security forces in the city killed 92 people, including 12 children, after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers, according to IranWire sources. Four security forces were also killed that day.
Overall, the security forces have killed more than 500 people across Iran and detained over 18,000 others since the nationwide protest movement kicked off in September, human rights activists say.