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Anti-government Protests Draw Thousands in Iran's Southeast

Protesters are seen in Zahedan, Iran, on Feb. 10, 2023, in the screenshot from social media.
Protesters are seen in Zahedan, Iran, on Feb. 10, 2023, in the screenshot from social media.

Iranian activists' organizations on social media report thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of cities in Iran's southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province on Friday, including the provincial capital, Zahedan.

Video posted to Twitter and other social media showed large crowds marching in the streets of Zahedan. VOA's Persian News service reports thousands marched Friday chanting anti-government slogans.

From its website and Twitter account, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran posted video and reported protests were also held Friday in the city of Galikesh in the northern Golestan Province, as well as in Sanandaj, the capital of the Kurdistan Province.

Also Friday, the New York-based Center for Human Rights Group (CHRI) reported an increasing number of doctors and medical workers are being arrested, detained, tortured and killed by Islamic Republic forces for treating wounded protesters.

CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi said this is in direct violation of international law and called on the U.N. Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission to Iran, established in November, to investigate the situation and hold Iran responsible.

Meanwhile, human rights groups and Reuters news service are reporting that Iran's judiciary on Friday released hunger-striking jailed dissident Farhad Meysami, imprisoned since 2018 for supporting women activists by protesting Iran's headscarf policy.

The release comes a week after Meysami's supporters had warned that he was at risk of dying for protesting the compulsory wearing of the hijab. Images posted to social media of an emaciated Meysami caused outrage among social media users and international rights groups.

Human Rights activists say 19,600 people have been arrested since anti-government demonstrations began in September. At least 527 people have been killed by authorities amid a violent suppression of the demonstrations.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters news service.

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