21 July 2021
On Thursday, the sixth day of protests in Khuzestan that had seen citizens chanting slogans about the lack of water, demonstrators in Izeh began shouting “Death to Khamenei” and “We don’t want the Islamic Republic.” The protests against government policies that have resulted in a water shortage in the southwestern province began this past weekend, heightening in intensity on Tuesday as protests raged in Ahvaz, the provincial capital, and the cities of Susangerd, Abadan, and Izeh. Violent confrontations have ensued between protesters and police in Izeh, 110 miles northwest of Ahvaz, with police firing tear gas at the demonstrators. The sound of tear gas canisters being repeatedly launched can be heard on videos of the protests. Due to the summer heat in Khuzestan, the protests are mostly being held at night.
The names of four protesters killed by police or paramilitaries have been posted to Twitter (though these have yet to be independently verified by recognized news organizations, self-identified family members have confirmed the deaths in each case): Hadi Bahmani, Meysam Acharesh, Farzad Farisat, and Mohammad Abbas Elkanani. The four men were killed in Izeh, Mahshahr, Ahvaz, and Shush, respectively. Earlier this week, the names of three other protestors reportedly killed by police were published online: Mostafa Naimavi, Qassem Khaziri, and Ali Mazraeh. Unconfirmed videos of the protests are circulating on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Protests are ongoing in the cities of Ahvaz, Dezful, Abadan, Darkhovin, Shalamcheh, Mahshahr, Susangerd, and Shadegan, with police resorting to tear gas and firing upon people to in attempts to disperse the protesters. Unconfirmed reports state that Mohammad Korushat, a protester who was critically injured in protests in Ahvaz on Monday, passed away on Wednesday.
Photos have been posted to social media depicting the government dispatching tanks and other military equipment in their effort to suppress the Khuzestan protests.
There are also videos informing of the presence of military forces in the streets of Tehran. Calls to get into the streets in solidarity with Khuzestan have also been circulating on social media, but the presence of police on the streets is designed to keep this from happening. However, videos have been uploaded showing protesters at the metro in Karaj and Sadeqiyeh shouting slogans against the Islamic Republic system, the IRGC, and Ali Khamenei.
This cartoon shows the government giving the people bullets instead of water.
Why are you burning, why are you shooting?
In some of these videos, citizens say they have carried out peaceful protests. “We didn’t even use political slogans. Don’t say tomorrow that the youth lit fires, the government lit the fires and we were putting them out while they shot at us without letting up.”
In another video that has been widely shared, a woman addresses the police, saying, “Our protest is peaceful, why are you lighting fires? They didn’t take your land, they didn’t take your water, now listen. We want peaceful protest. Why are you shooting?”