Helicopters Fire on Protesters in Iran!

The violence and rioting continued in Western Iran late this week. At one point the authorities brought in “helicopters” to squelch the violent protests in Saqqez:

At least 11 people were reportedly killed after police opened fire on protestors from both the ground and military helicopters in the air.

“Following the recent unrest in certain Kurdish towns, riots broke out yesterday in the town of Saqqez and a group that was previously unheard of called the Militant Students Organisation caused trouble by damaging a number of shops, banks, and government property”, Jomhouri Islami wrote.

“The troublemakers, while throwing stones and other material at banks, attacked the governor’s office in Saqqez as they moved along”, the semi-official daily, which is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reported.

“It is said that two of the troublemakers were shot at when they tried to disarm agents of the State Security Forces”, it added.

Eye-witnesses reported that anti-government protests began in Saqqez at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, as hundreds of young people took to the streets and attacked government buildings and set fire to several vehicles belonging to security forces.

The town remained tense on Thursday.

In another report from Saqqez, women were joining in the rioting:

Iran’s State Security forces opened lethal fire on protesters in the western town of Saqqez from a military helicopter on Wednesday, eye-witnesses reported.

Anti-government protesters set fire to the town’s principal prayer hall and vehicles belonging to the police on Wednesday morning. Various government buildings including the governor’s office were also attacked and the commander of State Security Forces was beaten by protestors. A government agency, Bonyad Panzdah Khordad, was completely ransacked.

Witnesses reported that women took part in great numbers during today’s clashes with the security forces. One witness described how several women attacked policemen who had detained a teenage boy and freed him.

In Hahlou Square, protestors chanted “Down with Khamenei”, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Islamic Republic News Agency is blaming the violence on “anarchists”.

A Kurdish woman was also arrested this week in western Iran for inciting violence:

The website Rooz reported that Roya Toloui, the editor of Rassan, a monthly based in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj, was arrested after being summoned by the intelligence unit of the SSF on several occasions in the past few months on charges of “disturbing the peace” and “acting against national security”. She had also been accused of “inciting ethnic division”.

Toloui’s monthly Rassan had so far published three issues all of which mainly discussed the plight of female Kurds in Iran.

Iranian officials also closed down the only Kurdish newspaper in Tehran this week.

Update: Blogger Stefania from Free Thoughts has more on these violent protests here, on an attack on the Iranian militia in the area here, and on another explosion in northern Iran here.

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