Public demonstrations over water shortages in the southwest of Iran completed their sixth day. Videos, which show that street protests spread to Tehran and the residents of the capital shout slogans against the government’s policies, have circulated on social media and Iranian news outlets.
While the protests are growing, it is seen that violence is also rising. Many videos shared by social media users revealed that security forces using tear gas to disperse protesters. On the other hand, the semi-official news agency Fars reported that protesters killed one policeman and injured another in the port city of Mahshahr in the Khuzestan province.
In many videos, it is seen that protestors shouted slogans against the Islamic Republic. In one of those which was understood that it was recorded in the town of Izeh, demonstrators were seen chanting “Reza Shah, bless your soul.”
Responding to the calls by various opposition groups and activists for gathering to support the demonstrations in Khuzestan, many people gathered in several locations. It is seen in a video, circulated on late Tuesday and early Wednesday, where women, gathered in a Tehran metro station, shouted slogans “Down with the Islamic Republic.” Moreover, some other people in Tehran uttered their anger with slogans targeting even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
So far, at least two people reportedly have been killed during demonstrations. While official statements accused protesters of being responsible for these deaths, activists stated that those people were killed by security forces.
Being mostly populated by ethnic Arab minorities, Khuzestan province is known as one of the regions with the worse living conditions in Iran, although it has rich oil sources. The residents of the province said they are facing discrimination.
Experiencing its worst drought in the last 50 years, Iran is facing a water crisis that has affected households, agriculture, and livestock farming, also causing power blackouts.
Iran is also facing an economic crisis derived from sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, mostly on its oil industry, as well as from the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, the country has been witnessing demonstrations by workers, including thousands in the key energy sector, with growing displeasure against mismanagement, high unemployment, and an inflation rate of more than 50%.
Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that at least 31 demonstrations, including rallies by workers and farmers, were recorded throughout the country between Monday and Tuesday.