NewsSpecial WireIran city spends turbulent night after football match

Iran city spends turbulent night after football match

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Iran Focus: Tabriz, Jun. 09 – The city of Tabriz in northwest Iran was the scene of mass anti-government demonstrations last night after the Iran’s 1-0 victory over Bahrain in the football World Cup qualifying match. Young people poured into the streets following the match and, when security forces tried to disperse them by force, celebrations quickly turned into anti-government protests, an Iran Focus correspondent in Tabriz reported. Iran Focus

Tabriz, Jun. 09 – The city of Tabriz in northwest Iran was the scene of mass anti-government demonstrations last night after the Iran’s 1-0 victory over Bahrain in the football World Cup qualifying match.

Young people poured into the streets following the match and, when security forces tried to disperse them by force, celebrations quickly turned into anti-government protests, an Iran Focus correspondent in Tabriz reported.

A huge portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was pulled down from an overhead bridge and set on fire on Abresan Street. Young men and women were seen dancing around the burning portrait, shouting “freedom, freedom”.

Chants of “Referendum, referendum, this is what people want”, could be heard throughout the populous provincial centre that is home to Iran’s largest ethnic minority, the Azeris. Senior government officials have been voicing growing concern at the sharp rise in anti-government activities across East Azerbaijan Province, which has Tabriz as its capital.

“Guns, tanks, the Bassij are no longer effective”, young men chanted as security forces were overwhelmed in the face of the spontaneous outpouring of thousands of people from their homes. The Bassijis are Islamic vigilantes that act as a paramilitary security force.

Demonstrations continued until near midnight with traffic in Nosfeh-Rah and Abresan junctions coming to a complete standstill.

At around 23:30 undercover state security agents were seen arresting a number of people at Abresan. Demonstrators responded by shouting anti-government slogans. At least two girls were among dozens of young people who were detained.

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