On Friday, Iran’s regime dispatched a large contingent of security forces to Isfahan to prevent the province’s farmers from holding a pre-announced gathering at the Zayandeh Rud river basin. The regime’s fearful and hasty security measure came one week after the regime violently suppressed the peaceful demonstrations of the farmers, who had gathered at Zayandeh Rud for several weeks, protesting water shortages and destructive government policies.
Anti-riot forces targeted the protesters with teargas and pellet guns. But the protesters, who had heard nothing but unfulfilled promises from government officials stood their ground and resisted the repressive security forces. The protesters’ slogans, which had previously been protests to water shortages, quickly turned political in nature, with demonstrators calling for the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime. The famers were joined by people from all walks of life and the protests expanded from Zayandeh Rud to other parts of Isfahan city, and the protesters blocked roads and obstructed the path of the repressive motorcades that had been dispatched to suppress the farmers’ protests.
During the protests, hundreds were injured, and many lost their eyesight due to being directly targeted by pellets. Hundreds of others were hospitalized due to their wounds. The regime’s security forces arrested hundreds of others.
But despite the brutal response to their rallies, the people of Isfahan decided to return to the Zayandeh Rud basin on Friday to voice their protest to the regime’s repressive policies. Terrified of the possible outcome of such rallies, the regime scrambled to dispatch its security forces to prevent the rallies before they take shape.
According to reports, the regime sent units from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Basij, the State Security Forces, anti-riot forces, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the judiciary police, and traffic police to prevent the protests. The regime even used helicopters to patrol the city and identify and stop and form of assembly.
Anti-riot forces were dispatched at the Zayandeh Rud and Khaju bridge, where the gathering was planned to take place. The police declared in advance that any kind of assembly at the location was banned, and the people were not even allowed to park their cars near the bridge and the river.
Other reports indicate that security forces were hostile toward any group larger than four or five people and would beat them if they did not disperse.
Motorcades were patrolling around the city throughout the day. Many roads were blocked by the traffic police. The locals also reported that the regime had cut off internet access at the Zayandeh Rud area in advance to prevent reports of potential protests from being published on the internet.
Isfahan’s governor tried to intimidate protesters in advance, declaring, “Security authorities will deal with anyone who publishes news and spreads rumors on social media channels.”
At the same time, the regime’s Friday prayer leaders warned the people of Isfahan against taking part in any protest on Friday. And the regime’s state-run media blared propaganda against the “foreign enemies” who are organizing and leading protests in the country.
The regime went to great lengths to shut down the voices of the farmers of Isfahan, who have been crying out for their most basic needs. This has been the regime’s response to all kinds of protests. The regime resorts to violence and repression to avoid addressing the just demands of the people. But the reality is economic and living conditions in Iran have degraded to such levels that the people no longer have anything to lose. This is why the more the regime ratchets up repression, the more the people become determined in their protests, knowing that the only way they can get their rights is to take matters into their own hands.