Two Confirmed Killed and 48 Injured in May 2018 Protests in Kazeroon
Bullets fired by police in the city of Kazeroon, Fars Province, killed two men—Ali Mohammadian and Azad Omid Reza Yousefian—during protests there in May 2018 the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
Mohammadian was a welder and Yousefian a construction painter.
The exact number of fatalities was previously unconfirmed due to the authorities’ unwillingness to speak publicly about the cases.
On May 19, Ali Alghasi, the chief prosecutor of Fars Province, said that in addition to the two deaths, 48 people had been injured, one of them seriously, and least 15 people had been arrested.
Hundreds of people protested in the streets of Kazeroon on May 16 after reports spread on social media stating that a controversial plan to divide the city and attach part of it to a nearby village to create a new city had been finalized.
“The part that is supposed to be detached from Kazeroon is a historic area with greater water resources and the people believe the lawmaker who proposed it [the plan] wants to attach it to the village where he was born instead of attending to the people’s real problems,” a local resident told CHRI on May 17.
Following the arrests of several protesters, their relatives gathered outside a local police station to demand their release but the police opened fire on the crowd according to a local resident who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity for security reasons.
In his comments to reporters, the chief prosecutor claimed some unruly protesters had caused problems for everyone else.
“A few riff raffs disturbed the peace and security of the people and took advantage of their feelings at a protest gathering and committed mischief,” Alghasi told the semi-official Mehr News Agency. “Their case is completely separate from the pious, honorable and revolutionary people of Kazeroon.”
The chief prosecutor also defended the policemen’s actions and claimed they reacted only after some protesters “stormed the police station, destroyed public property… fired weapons and used knives” against the police and the people.
He also said that several policemen were injured, including one who was stabbed.
Alghasi added that he had ordered a fact-finding commission to investigate the incidents to apprehend and punish those responsible for disturbing the peace. He made no mention of investigating the conduct of the police and security forces.
On May 17, the Interior Ministry announced that the plan to divide the city had been suspended “to take the concerns of the honorable people of Kazeroon into account.”