Friday, 29 September 2017
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran has reacted to the Kurdistan independence vote with widespread arrests of Iranian Kurds celebrating their neighbour’s historic referendum.
Two Iranian Kurdish political parties and a human rights watchdog all reported “scores” of arrests after thousands took to the streets in Kurdish cities of Iran chanting Biji Kurdistan, long live Kurdistan, and waving Kurdistan flags to celebrate the success of the independence referendum next door. Flying the Kurdistan flag and singing the national anthem are forbidden in Iran.
Iranian intelligence and security forces have set up a joint command center “for the purpose of identifying and arresting the organizers of the demonstrations,” the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) stated. They are reportedly analyzing video footage of the gatherings.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that Iranian police were closely monitoring the demonstrations that attracted rare attention in the country. “Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged the rallies, a rarity in the Islamic Republic broadcast,” the group stated.
It reported “dozens” of arrests.
Komala party said “at least 27 persons were detained” after taking part in celebrations for the referendum.
Internet and phone connections are also reportedly shut down or disrupted.
PDKI named 17 arrested, noting that their whereabouts are unknown.
According to the KHRN, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and regular armed forces were carrying out military exercises near the Kurdistan border.