Iran: Protests spread to oil plant as security forces clamp down Kurdish cities
Iranian security forces intensified a clampdown on protests in Kurdish cities sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini, as demonstrations spread into the country's vital energy sector.
Protestors refused to go home since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iran's Kurdish region, died on September 16 after being taken into custody because her hair was showing under her hijab, marking one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
Authorities deny that Amini was beaten by the police and insist that her cause of death was sudden heart failure from preexisting conditions. But the family has denied the 22-year-old had any previous health issues.
University students have played a lead role in the protests but reports on social media showed workers at Abadan and Kangan oil refineries and the Bushehr Petrochemical Project had joined in.
A video on Twitter showed dozens of workers had blocked the road to the Bushehr petrochemical plant, in Assaluyeh on Iran's Gulf coast, chanting "Death to the Dictator".
Iran, 10 Oct, oil workers at Bushewer Petrochemical plant, Assaluyeh, come out on strike and protest against the regime. Potentially very significant. It was the oil workers' strike which brought down the Shah. pic.twitter.com/zUGdMnAKHz— Jorge Martin (@marxistJorge) October 10, 2022
Tensions have been especially high between authorities and the long-oppressed Kurdish minority.
Human rights group Hengaw reported a heavy presence of armed security forces in the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Saqez and Divandareh on Monday. It said at least five Kurdish residents were killed and over 150 injured in protests since Saturday.
The Iranian authorities have blamed the violence on an array of enemies including armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents, with the Revolutionary Guards attacking their bases in neighboring Iraq a number of times during the latest unrest.