Some Iranian unions and civic groups have expressed solidarity with popular protests centered in the south-west, urging security forces to exercise restraint.
In a statement released on Monday, the Workers Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company said the voice of the people who are suffering from corruption in the government cannot be silenced by deception and crackdown.
They said the culprits of the disaster are the authorities who turned a blind eye to corruption and permitted the construction of the building by unreliable people who took advantage of nepotism and connections with government officials.
The statement goes on to say that authprities with all their means and tools of repression are trying to silence the voices of the families of the victims and the and the demands of the people in Abadan and other cities in Khuzestan and elsewhere in the country, and “as usual, they respond to any protest with bullets, batons and tear gas.”
Anti-government protests have been taking place since last week in several cities across Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province as well as in other cities in support of the people of Abadan with security forces firing tear gas and shots to disperse the crowds.
Protests began last week, when on Monday a 10-story building collapsed in Abadan, leaving 32 people dead and an equal number missing. The people of Shahinshahr in the central Esfahan province and Bandar Abbas in the southern province of Hormozgan also held protest rallies to show their solidarity with the people of Abadan, whose mourning ceremonies for the victims of the Metropol twin towers have turned into anti-government protests since Wednesday.
It quickly became apparent that the owner and builder was a powerful and well-connected businessman who had disregarded regulations and building codes, backed by officials, who might have had their own financial interests.
The Iranian Writers Association also issued a statement saying the state media tried to hide facts and information about the tragedy by describing the building as not complete and publishing false figures on injured and missing persons.
They condemned the government’s “clumsy show aimed at covering up corruption institutionalized in state agencies and institutions,” saying the authorities’ first reaction to the tragedy was not sending relief crews, but dispatching anti-riot forces, cutting off Internet access, and misinformation.
The association also said the ongoing clampdown on the protesters is reminiscent of the November 2019 protests, the bloodiest in Iran’s history with security forces opening fire on demonstrators in many cities, killing hundreds. Thousand were arrested and jailed without due process of law and there were numerous reports of torture in prison.
In another statement published on Sunday, headlined, "Put Down Your Gun,” a group of filmmakers and actors called on security forces responsible for suppressing the popular protests to lay down their weapons.
Now, that public outrage over corruption, theft, inefficiency, repression and suffocation has created a wave of popular protests, "we call on all those who have become agents of repression in the military units to lay down their weapons and return to the embrace of the nation."