PMOI/MEK reporter inside Kazerun
May 19, 2018 - After weeks of growing tensions and ongoing protests in Kazerun, Fars province, over the government’s plans to divide the city into smaller townships, the regime’s crackdown on protesters has backfired against the regime itself. On Thursday night, security forces attacked and opened fire on protesters, wounding dozens and arresting many others. But the effect the show of force has had was not what the regime wished for.
The people resist against the regime’s violence
According to local reports, the people of Kazerun responded to the violence of security forces with bare hands, setting police vehicles and stations ablaze. The regime quickly proceeded with wiping the traces of the clashes but video and footage obtained from the city on Friday show smoldering buildings and the remains of burnt vehicles. Rocks are strewn across the streets and there’s heavy traffic on the roads.
The regime still hasn’t delivered the bodies of the dead to their families, and the fate of the many people who disappeared during the protests remains unknown. Kazerun’s hospital is filled with injured people and security forces have blocked its entrance.
The joy of the people of Kazerun after the retreat of the regime forces
On Friday, the people of Kazerun took to the streets again to resume their protests. On Friday, a large number of people refused to attend the prayers led by the regime-appointed Friday prayer leader and held their own prayers separately.
Protests continued in Kazerun on Saturday and the people gathered in the streets that lead to the Shohada square to resume their demonstrations.
Intensifying security presence in the aftermath of Kazerun protests
After the Thursday and Friday protests in Kazerun, security forces have blocked paths that lead to the city’s Shohada Square, where the main protests took place. They’re also preventing everyone from taking pictures and are confiscating and breaking mobile phones. In tandem, the regime has deployed mobile-jammer patrols to disrupt communications in places where protests erupt. Security forces also cut off access to the internet in Kazerun on Thursday and Friday.
The deployment of special forces to Kazerun - Friday night and Saturday 19 May
Outside the city, the regime’s security forces have blocked roads that lead to Kazerun in order to prevent people from adjacent cities from joining and helping the protesters.
The regime has also dispatched forces from many of the surrounding cities to Kazerun and provinces to keep the city under control and prevent protests from taking place. According to local reports, on May 18, there was a heavy IRGC presence in Kazerun’s Shohada and Abuzar Squares and in front of judiciary’s office.
Domestic and international support for Kazerun protesters
In the aftermath of the Kazerun protests and the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on protesters, people from other cities across Iran have voiced their support for the city’s brave citizens. The PMOI/MEK network has gathered messages of solidarity from all parts of the country, including Lorestan, Semnan, Alborz, and Mazandaran. In the city of Amol, the people wrote slogans on walls in support of the protesters of Kazerun. The workers of the National Oil Company also expressed their solidarity with the Kazerun protests and called on their compatriots to support the protests and go on strike.
Kazerun’s protests have also garnered international support. On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “We support the Iranian people who are demonstrating against an oppressive government. 3 deaths & Internet interruption show the regime’s true nature.” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also expressed his support in a tweet, saying, “The people of Iran continue to risk their lives to protest the corrupt & oppressive Iranian terror regime. I join [Secretary] Pompeo in supporting the Iranian people and hope the international media also gives these important protests in Kazerun and elsewhere the attention they deserve.”