Mahabad: Kurds rise up against Iranian suppression

From Mahabad's protests on Thursday. Photo: Activists

ARA News

Erbil, Kurdistan – The protests, which swept the Kurdish-inhabited city of Mahabad in northwestern Iran, continued in response to a sexual harassment by an Iranian officer against a Kurdish girl causing her to commit suicide, Kurdish activists reported on Friday.

Kurdish activists told ARA News in Mahabad that at least two protesters were killed and more than 50 others injured after the Iranian police fired live bullets in an attempt to disperse them.

Some of the injured were transferred to Imam Khomeini hospital, and 37 Kurdish protesters were arrested, according to local activists.

The protesters burned a car belonging to the Iranian anti-riot units, which tried to attack them instantly, amid news about preparations by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to intervene and quell the protests in case of moving to other areas of the country.

Mahabad residents had gathered on Thursday in front of Tara Hotel in the city center (680 km west of the Iranian capital Tehran), denouncing the rape of a Kurdish girl who threw herself from the fourth floor of the hotel where in the incident took place; likewise, demanding punishment for the perpetrators who caused the death of Farinaz Khosrawani, 23.

The protests quickly turned violent after the Iranian special police forces used guns and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters.

An eyewitness told ARA News that the march was peaceful at first, but with the intervention of the military and security forces attempting to break up rallies by force, “the protest turned into mutual violence”. As such, the news passed quickly on the social networking sites, causing a wave of outrage among Kurds in other cities who accordingly took to the streets.

Commenting on the violence in Mahabad, the Kurdish writer and novelist Abdo Khalil stated to ARA News: “These protests are deemed as extension of the Kurdish revolution that broke out seven decades ago. The revolution was then suppressed and entered the status of latency as a result of the brutal repressive machine of the Iranian authorities.”

“This is a living proof that the revolutions do not die or sag,” he added.

The Kurdish writer pointed out that Iran has been a fertile ground for the return of what he described “the revolutionary seeds”.

“There is a bloody and expansive regime hiding in the cloak of the mullahs. This regime has become not only a pariah internationally and regionally, but also has intractable internal problems,” Khalil argued.

“The problematic relationship of this brutal regime with the Kurds and the Ahwazi Arabs, beside the suppressed aspirations for free and dignified life, have caused an unbearable persecution. Not to mention the economic problems along with the restrictions imposed on the public and private freedoms,” the Kurdish writer told ARA News.

The Kurdish political activist Abdo Khalil argued that observers “may differ on pinpointing what is happening in Mahabad”, adding that some people may not consider the ongoing developments in Mahabad as a revolution, “especially if they neutralized today’s events from their historical context considering what happened as outburst of anger”.

“Revolutions are like volcanoes erupt, activate and fade in a period of time, but they will not enter the idle phase ever until expelling lava from within,” he said. 

In a related development, the Kurds in the city of Amed/Diyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, took to the street on to show support and solidarity with peers in the city of Mahabad, while in the border city of Suruc near Kobane a similar sit in will reportedly take place on Saturday.

Activists told ARA News that the municipality of Diyarbakir, run by the Democratic Peoples Party (HDP), organized demonstrations under the direct supervision of the Co-chairs of the Municipality Firat Wanli and Gultan Kisanak, representatives of civil society organizations and representatives of several political parties in Turkey.

In the meantime, Kurdish activists from Iran called on the Kurdish people through social media to stand in solidarity with the people of Mahabad city, “because of the crime committed against them by the Iranian authorities”, adding that the uprising will prevail all Kurdish cities in Iran in the coming days.  

“The demonstrations will continue until we gain our rights in freedom and dignity,” Kurdish activists in Iran said. 

Noteworthy, Mahabad is a city with a population of 280,000, where Kurds constitute majority. It was the capital of the short-lived Republic of Mahabad, which was declared as a Kurdish independent state on January 1, 1946 under the leadership of Kurdish nationalist Qazi Mihemed.


Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef

Source: ARA News

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