DUBAI: A city in Iran that was the scene of a bloody crackdown last month awoke to new destruction on Saturday, state TV showed, after tensions erupted the day before, reports AP.
In Zahedan, a southeastern city with an ethnic Baluch population, protests after Friday prayers left the city battered.
The outburst of protests in Zahedan came as demonstrations across Iran continue over the the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.
Although the protests first focused on the country’s mandatory hijab, they have transformed into the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement over disputed elections.
Security forces have dispersed gatherings with live ammunition and tear gas, leaving over 200 people dead, according to rights groups.
Violence first broke out in the restive city of Zahedan on Sept 30 — a day that activists describe as the deadliest since the nationwide protests began.
Outrage spread after allegations that a Baluch teenager had been raped by a police officer, fueling deep tensions in the underdeveloped region home to minority Sunni Muslims in the Shiite theocracy.
Iranian authorities have described the Zahedan violence as involving unnamed separatists, without providing details or evidence.
With anger simmering over the deadly crackdown, unrest in the city flared again on Friday, according to video footage that purportedly showed crowds gathering after noon prayers in Zahedan chanting “I will kill the one who killed my brother!” The scale of the clashes remained unclear, but Iranian state TV aired footage of the aftermath, blaming 150 “rioters” for the trail of destruction.
The state-run IRNA news agency said protesters shouted slogans, hurled stones at motorists and damaged banks and other private property.
Authorities said they arrested 57 demonstrators, among the estimated thousands who have landed in jail over the protests.
The provincial police commander, Ahmad Taheri, said security forces were searching for more culprits.