Protests in the southern Iran city of Khorramshahr turned into an armed confrontation with security forces early Sunday, resulting in injuries among protesters and police, with conflicting reports that one or more demonstrators may have died.Screenshot from social media video taken in the city of Khorramshahr showing armed clashes with police.
Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) confirmed the clashes in the historically restive Arab-majority city after large protests over clean water shortages in the region began Friday, and after 3 days of economic protests in Tehran resulted in the temporary closure of the Grand Bazaar early last week.
Though the AP confirms that gunfire erupted in Khorrmashahr, it reports multiple injuries and no fatalities as "online videos appear to show Iranian security forces shooting at protesters."
However Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reported four deaths among protesters on Saturday, and BBC Persian cited at least one death based on an eyewitness account. The Times of Israel echoed regional Arabic press and cited four deaths during the protests.
#Breaking: Several people were killed and wounded in protest against the Islamic Republic of Iran in #Khorramshahr. The protests are still ongoing. People slogan: "Down with Islamic Reupblic"#Iranprotests pic.twitter.com/yKkeyjqH8x
Meanwhile the AP emphasizes that police were primarily on the receiving end of the violence while citing Iranian media:
Gunfire erupted as Iranian security forces confronted protesters early Sunday amid demonstrations over water scarcity in the country's south, violence that authorities said wounded at least 11 people, mostly police.
While difficult to verify the exact nature of what's being shown, multiple social media videos from the clashes purport to show shots fired by police into crowds of demonstrators, and elsewhere armed men opposing police, including a scene of a man wielding an assault rifle on a motorcycle.
Khoramshar water shortage protest turned violent tonight.
What we know:
-At least 2 protesters shot, possibly by getting close to military zones
-Mobs set 2 museums on fire (reports)
-1 hour of calm
- No base takeovers(anti-regime journos have claimed)
- Armed bike is suspicious pic.twitter.com/lwWr9lHcY3
The dramatic footage of overnight events in Khorramshahr has pro- and anti-regime activists debating who is to blame for the violence; however, it's clear from video footage being circulated by both sides that some among the demonstrators were armed — though it should be noted that some activists claim the armed group in the motorbike screen are actually plain clothed security forces.
Regardless, the video...