Iran protests: Children as young as 10 feared dead in crackdown, says Amnesty



CNN

Up to 10 people, including children, are feared to have been killed in a crackdown on protests by Iranian security forces in the country’s southeast on Friday, Amnesty International said.

In several posts on Twitter on Friday, Amnesty said security forces had fired live ammunition at “peaceful protesters from the roofs of the governor’s office and several other buildings” in the city of Khash in Sistan province and Baluchistan.

The province, which neighbors Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to members of the long-oppressed predominantly Sunni Muslim Baluch ethnic minority and has a history of unrest.

The violence on Friday comes amid protests across the country over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after being detained by moral police in Tehran.

Large-scale demonstrations have also recently taken place in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan state, following the alleged rape of a Baloch girl by the police chief.

Authorities sacked the police chief in Zahedan last week, but protests continued and on Thursday, a high-ranking Shiite cleric was shot dead by masked gunmen in Zahedan, according to state news agency IRNA.

Video shared with CNN by activist IranWire appears to show protesters running in Khash, southeastern Iran on Friday.

Anti-authority protests turned violent on Friday in several cities in southeastern Iran, including Khash, according to state media and activists. A video from the city released by state media showed plumes of smoke rising from a building.

In its reports, Amnesty cited testimonies and images it had obtained from various sources.

The group said it was “gravely concerned about further bloodshed amid internet outages and reports of authorities bringing more security forces to Khash from Zahedan.”

“Iran’s authorities must immediately control the security forces. “UN member states must immediately raise their concerns with Iran’s ambassadors and support the establishment of a mechanism for ‘independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council,’ Amnesty said.

The Coordinating Council of Trade Associations of Iranian Teachers (CCITTA) also tweeted on Friday that at least 16 protesters were killed and dozens more injured after Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters in Khash.

CNN cannot independently verify the death toll provided by Amnesty or CCITTA. It is impossible to confirm a precise death toll for people outside the government of Iran. Figures vary according to opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.

A video shared with CNN by Khash activist IranWire appears to show several injured and unconscious protesters on the ground, after heavy gunfire rang out in the background.

Meanwhile, the country’s semi-official Fars news agency posted images on Twitter showing charred cars and damaged buildings, with a caption blaming the damage on “riots”.

During the “unrest in Khash, several people were killed and injured,” Fars said in the tweet.

“The governorate, Jihad Agriculture building and several other government buildings, several kiosks and police cars, people’s private cars and almost all the banks were set on fire by the rioters,” Fars added.

Fars claimed that the protests in Khash took place after Friday prayers at a Sunni mosque in the area.

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