Authorities in Iran’s central city of Esfahan have warned residents not to gather for “any illegal protest” on Friday and threatened to use force.
Protests by farmers from the regions around the city in November by the government used riot police to disperse them last week from a makeshift camp on the dry riverbed of Zayanbeh Roud in the city center. Farmers were demanding their water share for irrigation.
The following day thousands of residents tried to gather to protest and were met with special riot police who used shotgun ‘bird shots’ to shoot at demonstrators, injuring dozens, including around 20 people who lost one or both eyes.
Residents have called for a repeat protest for Friday, December 3, and the authorities have said that any person protesting would be considered aiding anti-Islamic Republic opposition groups.
The traffic police chief in the city has announced all roads along the river will be closed to cars and pedestrians from 5:00 am on Friday. Esfahan’s governor said no one submitted a request for a permit to protest and any gathering will be illegal.
Islamic Republic officials never issue a permit for any protest deemed to be against the regime.