Protests in Zahedan on October 21, 2022

Zahedan Marks ‘Bloody Friday’ With More Protests Amid Strikes

Friday, 10/21/2022

Iran's top Sunni cleric blamed Iran's ruler Ali Khamenei Friday as people took to the streets of the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan to commemorate those killed in "Bloody Friday" protests three weeks ago. 

The Bloody Friday in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan and Baluchestan took place September 30, when security forces killed at least 93 people, and injured hundreds more. Zahedan is one of the few Sunni-majority cities in predominantly Shiite Iran.

Molavi Abdolhamid, the religious leader of Iran’s largely Sunni Baluch population, said that no one can evade responsibility for the carnage, dismissing the Islamic Republic's official account of the events which attributed the Bloody Friday to separatists and militant groups. “They were sheer lies,” Abolhamid said. 

"Unity, unity," "Death to Basiji," and "Death to the dictator", the protesters chanted Friday in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei outside a police station, one of the places where the repression agents opened fire on protesters and bystanders. 

Dismissing the scenarios that the Islamic Republic has used to justify its clampdown on the antigovernment protests, trying to portray them as separatist movements, people of Zahedan chanted slogans such as "From Zahedan to Tehran, I sacrifice my life for Iran."

According to reports, IRGC forces and snipers were stationed on the roofs of some buildings in Zahedan in an effort to suppress the popular protests. 

Despite threats as well as widespread arrests among striking workers in the oil and gas industry and young protesters on streets, the uprising is raging across the country. 

The US-based Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on Thursday that at least 12,500 people have been detained in Iran, adding that at least 244 people, including 32 children, were also killed.

Reports from Iran also indicate that despite widespread arrests among striking workers in the oil and gas industry and young protesters on streets, the uprising in Iran shows no sign of abating.

On Thursday, the Union of Truck Drivers announced that in support of the protests they began a strike Friday and will stop transportation activities. Loading at some oil, gas and petrochemical plants slowed down.

On October 18, the workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane complex in the southwestern Khuzestan province joined the strikes in oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors in southern Iran.

Workers of several phases of South Pars Gas-Condensate field, Bushehr Petrochemical Company and Hengam Petrochemical Company -- both of which operate at Asalouyeh Complex -- Abadan Petrochemical company and refinery, Mahshahr’s refinery and Pipe Mill Plant, as well as Neyriz Ghadir Steel Complex off the coasts of the Persian Gulf have been on strikes in solidarity with the protests across Iran.

An Iranian teachers' union also called a two-day strike as of Sunday over the lethal targeting of schoolchildren in a crackdown on protests. The Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations declared the sit-in strikes for Sunday and Monday, saying, “We teachers will be present at schools but will refrain from being present in classes," it said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel. We know very well that the military and security forces and plainclothesmen have violated schools and educational centers.”

"During this systematic oppression, they have mercilessly taken the lives of a number of students and children; from Nika (Shahkarami) and Sarina (Esmailzadeh), to Abolfazl (Adinezadeh) and Asra Panahi," it said. 

"The rulers must know that ... Iran's teachers do not tolerate these atrocities and tyranny and proclaims that we are for the people, and these bullets and pellets you shoot at the people target our lives and souls," it added. 

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