Hundreds of protesters defied heightened security measures and poured into the streets of the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan on October 13 for weekly demonstrations against the Islamic Republic.
According to reports, military forces established checkpoints across the restive city and blocked access to Grand Makki Mosque, the largest Sunni mosque in the country and a focal point of protests since the Woman, Life, Freedom movement erupted in September 2022.
Its Friday prayer leader, Molavi Abdolhamid, has been a key dissenting voice inside Iran, using his sermons to sharply criticize the bloody response of the country’s Shia clerical rulers to the protest movement and to call for fundamental economic, social and political changes.
Videos shared on social media show the protesters chanting slogans such as "My martyred brother, I will avenge your blood."
"As long as our blood flows, Molavi is our leader," was also shouted by the crowds.
ویدئوی دیگر از اعتراضات مردم زاهدان— حال وش (@haalvsh) October 13, 2023
به گزارش حال وش/ امروز ۲۱ مهرماه ۱۴۰۲، مردم زاهدان با تداوم جو سنگین امنیتی با سردادن شعارهای اعتراضی به خیابانها آمدند.#جمعه_خونین_زاهدان #آرمیتا_گراوند #زاهدان pic.twitter.com/9mNtmqqGSq
In another video, worshipers are seen confronting members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), calling them "dishonorable" while pushing them back.
ویدئویی از حضور نیروهای سپاه در مقابل معترضان زاهدانی— حال وش (@haalvsh) October 13, 2023
به گزارش حال وش/ امروز ۲۱ مهرماه ۱۴۰۲، مردم زاهدان با تداوم جو سنگین امنیتی نیروهای نظامی با سردادن شعارهای اعتراضی به خیابانها آمدند.#جمعه_خونین_زاهدان #آرمیتا_گراوند #زاهدان pic.twitter.com/QaH3CbwpFU
Zahedan is the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is home to Iran's Sunni Baluch minority of up to 2 million people.
The city has seen protest rallies almost every Friday since September 30 of last year, when security forces killed nearly 100 people in the deadliest incident in the nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini.
Two weeks ago, protesters in multiple cities across Sistan and Baluchistan marked the one-year anniversary of Bloody Friday, resulting in the arrest of at least 51 people. At least 29 people were injured in the crackdown by security forces, including several children.