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Iranian Kurds prepare mass strike

At least 400 Kurds have been arrested across restive areas of Iran.

Iranian Kurds protest in Mahabad. (Twitter)

BEIRUT – Kurds in Iran are preparing for a large general labor strike as security forces continue their campaign of mass arrests around protest-hit Mahabad.

 

Following nearly a week of unrest in Kurdish-populated areas of northwestern Iran, activists called on all Kurdish civilians to begin a comprehensive strike in protest of the government’s crackdown on demonstrations.

 

“We call on all Kurdish citizens in the cities of Iranian Kurdistan to take part in a general strike starting on Thursday,” read the statement, which according to Asharq Alawsat, also called on all Kurdish political and non-political organizations to support the civil action.

 

The statement said the strike would include “the closure of all commercial enterprises in Kurdish cities” and advised Kurds “not to go to work in response to Iranian regime’s practices against the Kurdish people.”

 

The activists said they were aiming to prevent “assaults against our women and […] the repression of […] our peaceful demonstrations,” and make “the Iranian government review its policies related to the Kurdish people and listen […] to the voice of the people of Kurdistan.”

 

Unrest has mounted in Kurdish-populated areas of Iran, since anger boiled over last Thursday in Mahabad, where a local woman jumped to her death from a hotel window, reportedly to avoid rape by an Iranian security officer.

 

Syria ARA News said that the fifth-day of protests in Mahabad turned violent once again on Monday night. Previous demonstrations in the city have left at least six people dead according to reports. 

 

“The demonstrations, which started at 7 pm… [saw] protesters denounce Iranian [authorities] and their human rights abuses and call for the freedom of Iranian Kurdistan.”

 

The protests have spread to a number of other cities, with Iraqi Kurdish BAS News reporting Wednesday that demostrations have also been held in Sanandaj, Bukan, Saqqez and Marivan.

 

Arrest campaign

 

Iran has scrambled its security forces in a bid to quell the protests, deploying them in heavy numbers across northwestern Iran.

 

On Monday, a Kurdish official told ARA News that “the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence agents of the Iranian regime forces were deployed in Iranian Kurdish areas, blocking the roads to prevent protestors from reaching governmental institutions.”

 

Amid the heightened security measures, Iranian forces have also arrested scores of activists and protesters across Kurdish-populated areas.

 

The vice president of the Iranian opposition Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) told Alaraby Aljadeed that Iranian security forces have arrested over 400 Kurds since last Thursday.

 

“Around 200 of them are from the city of Mahabad, [and were detained] for taking part in anti-regime protests,” Hussein Yazdanpana said Wednesday.

 

“After the situation exploded and massive popular demonstrations broke out in Kurdish cities […] the security forces used closed circuit television cameras to record footage of the demonstrations,” the Kurdish official explained.

 

“Then they inspected [the footage] to identify the participants… raided houses […] and arrested a large number of [people] in the towns of Mahabad, Bukan, Saradasht, Marivan and Oshnavieh.”

Iranian Kurds protest in Mahabad. (Twitter)

We call on all Kurdish citizens in the cities of Iranian Kurdistan to take part in a general strike starting on Thursday.