Iran Human RightsIran police arrest 1,000 during fire festival in Tehran

Iran police arrest 1,000 during fire festival in Tehran

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Mar. 16 – Iran’s paramilitary police arrested 1,000 individuals in the Iranian capital during Tuesday night’s annual fire festival, Tehran’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Thursday. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Mar. 16 – Iran’s paramilitary police arrested 1,000 individuals in the Iranian capital during Tuesday night’s annual fire festival, Tehran’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Thursday.

“On the night leading to the [Persian calendar”> year’s final Wednesday, 1,000 individuals who were creating disorder and disruption were arrested across Tehran”, Mahmoud Salarkia announced. His comments were carried by the state-run news agency ISNA.

The figure was considerably higher than the one announced earlier by Greater Tehran’s chief of police. Brigadier General Morteza Talai said on Wednesday that the security forces had arrested 174 people in Tehran during the festival which dissidents turned into widespread anti-government protests.

Salalrkia said that individuals sent to prison for their actions late Tuesday would remain behind bars over the Persian New Year period, adding that a number of detained individuals who repented in writing had been released.

Talai had said that some 729 motorcyclists who broke the ban on motorbike riding during the day were detained.

Despite a massive crackdown to prevent this year’s “fire festival” from turning into scenes of anti-governments protests, young people took to the streets across Iran to defy the government ban and celebrate the last Tuesday of the Persian year with a big bang. In Tehran and several other cities effigies of Iran’s theocratic rulers, including those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were set on fire.

Posters of Iranian officials hung on lampposts in Tehran as well as in other towns and cities were also burnt by disillusioned youths.

Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) had also stepped up arrests of people for distribution of fireworks in the past several days. The festival is barely tolerated by the authorities in the Islamic Republic, who object to it on the grounds that it is “un-Islamic”.

The Tehran Public Prosecution Office had issued a statement, announcing that individuals caught creating “disruption in public order” will receive jail sentences of between three months to one year and up to 74 lashes on their backs in accordance with Iran’s Islamic laws.

Individuals caught distributing fireworks will receive between three and ten years in prison, the statement said.

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