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Iranian movement defies state repression

by Simon Assaf

Pro-democracy protests in Iran have continued despite a bloody crackdown by the authorities.

A protest strike closed down the city of Saqez, in the Kurdistan province, some 150 miles north of the capital Tehran on Tuesday of last week.

According to reports from Iran, all the shops were shut and riot police were deployed across the city.

There have been similar strikes in the north west of the country—including Mahabad, in the West Azerbaijan province, and the cities of Bokan and Sardasht.

These strikes show that general discontent is spreading to the minority ethnic Kurdish and Azeri regions.

The funerals of those killed during the unrest have become impromptu anti-government demonstrations.

Crowds chanted in defiance of the police as they gathered for the funeral of 19 year old Sohrab Araabi who was killed in the first days of the protests.

Thousands of people also defied the crackdown to join a demonstration to commemorate the 1999 repression of the Iranian student movement.

Car drivers beeped their horns and flashed their lights in support of the protesters.

They also shouted slogans at the government’s Basij militia.

Meanwhile, authorities are continuing to purge those seen as sympathetic to the popular movement, including senior members of the security services.

According to human rights activists some 2,000 people are still being detained.

These include Nobel Prize winning author Shirin Ebadi, prominent journalists and activists in the reform movement.


Article information

International
Tue 14 Jul 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2160
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