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Ten feared dead as Iranian security forces open fire on protesters: Amnesty International

According to Amnesty International, up to 10 people, including children, were killed Friday when Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Protests erupted after Friday prayers in the provincial capital of Zahedan, as well as in other parts of the sprawling border province, including the city of Khash in the south.

Amnesty accused security forces of firing “live ammunition” from the roofs of official buildings in Khash.

“It is feared that up to 10 people, including children, have been killed and dozens injured in the crackdown,” Amnesty said in a statement.

The human rights group added it was “seriously concerned about further bloodshed amid internet outages and reports from authorities bringing more security forces from Zahedan to Khash”.

“Iranian authorities must immediately rein in the security forces,” it said. Amnesty said it was working to identify the dead and the final toll could be higher.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group posted video of bloodied victims being taken away and said “several people have been killed and injured in Khash”, with security forces firing from rooftops.

The London-based Baloch Activists Campaign (BAC) said security forces fired “with intent to kill” and hospitals were overrun with wounded.

It claimed on its Telegram channel that “dozens” had been killed and said it had confirmed the identities of nine of the dead, including a 14-year-old.

Videos posted to social media showed chaos in Khash, with smoke filling the air and residents rushing to help the injured.

The official IRNA news agency said several police officers were injured by stone-throwing protesters who set fire to a police patrol post.

Sistan-Baluchestan is populated by the Baluch ethnic minority, who mainly adhere to Sunni Islam rather than the Shia faith predominant in Iran, and activists have long complained of discrimination against the province by Iran’s Shia clergy.

For two weeks, unrest erupted in the province as nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran on September 16 after her arrest by Iran’s vice squad.

The reason was the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the provincial city of Chabahar.

Activists accuse Iran’s security forces of massacring more than 80 people on a “bloody Friday” in Zahedan on Sept. 30.

IHR said a total of more than 100 people have died in the wave of unrest in the province.

Tensions mounted further in Zahedan this week when a Shia cleric was killed in what Iranian reports described as a drive-by shooting.

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