Up to 10 people, including children, are feared to have been killed Friday when Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Amnesty International said.
Protests erupted after Friday prayers in the provincial capital of Zahedan but also in other areas of the sprawling border province, including the town of Khash to the south.
Amnesty accused security forces of firing “live ammunition" from the rooftops of official buildings in Khash.
“The crackdown is feared to have left up to 10 people, including children, dead and dozens more injured," Amnesty said in a statement.
The human rights group added it was “gravely concerned about further bloodshed amid internet disruptions and reports of authorities bringing more security forces to Khash from Zahedan".
“Iran’s authorities must immediately rein in security forces," it said. Amnesty said it was working to identify those killed and the final toll could be higher.
Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) posted video of bloodied victims being carried away and said “several had been killed and injured in Khash", with security forces firing from rooftops.
London-based Baloch Activists Campaign (BAC) said that security forces were shooting “with intent to kill" and hospitals were overwhelmed with wounded.
It alleged on its Telegram channel that “dozens" had been killed and said it had confirmed the identities of nine of those killed, including a 14-year-old.
Videos posted on social media showed scenes of chaos in Khash, with smoke filling the air and residents rushing to help the wounded.
The official IRNA news agency said several police had been wounded by stone-throwing protesters who set fire to a police patrol post.
Sistan-Baluchestan is populated by the Baluch ethnic minority, who mostly follow Sunni Islam rather than the Shiite faith predominant in Iran, and activists have long complained of discrimination against the province by Iran’s Shiite clerical leadership.
Unrest erupted in the province two weeks into nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran on September 16 following her arrest by Iran’s morality police.
The trigger was the alleged rape in custody of a 15-year-old-girl by a police commander in the province’s port city of Chabahar.
Activists accuse Iranian security forces of massacring more than 80 people in a “bloody Friday" in Zahedan on September 30.
IHR said in total more than 100 people have been killed in the wave of unrest in the province.
Tensions rose further in Zahedan this week when a Shiite cleric was killed in what Iranian reports described as a drive-by shooting.
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