Demonstrators in Baneh on Tuesday asked the governor to bring the killers of the Kulbaran to justice or resign. The protests followed the killing of two Kulbaran, and have spread across Iran’s cities.
The two killed on Monday were 41-year-old Ghader Bahrami and 21-year-old Heydar Faraji. Tasnim News reported that a spokesperson for the Iranian Police said that border police opened fire on them when they crossed into a restricted zone.
Brig. Gen. Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi said that the guards fired warning shots when they spotted a group of people with packages trying to sneak into a restricted area. He explained that this is a sensitive area that has a record of security threats. The warnings were ignored, so the guards were forced to open fire.
The semi-legal porters are frequently harassed by the Iranian authorities and many have been killed. They carry goods on their backs, across the mountains from the Kurdistan Region to Iran’s Kurdish provinces, which are some of the poorest regions of Iran.
In response to the protesters, Iranian authorities sent the military into the city and detained several protesters.
It’s reported that thousands in military, both in uniform and in plain clothes, have been deployed in Kurdish cities in an attempt to control the crowds. However, more people continue to join the crowd of protestors in the capital of Kurdistan Province, northwest of Iran.
Although unconfirmed, it’s believed that Armed revolutionary guards have arrested 8 civilians.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) declared support for demonstrations by the Kurds in Iran. HDP’s spokesperson Osman Baydemir stated, “I, as a Kurd from Bakur [Turkey’s Kurdistan], am with all our people in Rojhelat [Iranian Kurdistan]. They are not alone.” Baydemir added, “40 million Kurds across the Middle East support them. Our brothers and sisters in Eastern Kurdistan are unfortunately passing through a very difficult time.”
He continued, ”I call upon the Tehran government to leave behind its enmity and racism toward the Kurds.” Baydemir also said, “Those engaging in hostility against the Kurds have been defeated. Those who befriended the Kurdish people have succeeded.”
Tension between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated East Kurdistan Force (YRK) and Iranian forces has led to clashes in Baneh and elsewhere. Two Iranian soldiers were killed in retaliation, YRK reported.