Security forces in the southwestern town of Lordegan have made widespread arrests following large protests over the HIV infection of more than 200 villagers by a local health clinic.
According to locals, security forces are using videos of the protests to identify and arrest protesters. It is still not clear how many protesters were arrested but reports indicate that the numbers are high. The arrests started on October 8 three days after hundreds of Iranians in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, took to the streets and clashed with riot police.
The report said that a number of locals in the neighboring Monjar Mui village were detained yesterday. It is not clear where the detainees have been taken.
Locals say that more than 200 people in Chenar Mahmoudi village have tested HIV+ after the health clinic used contaminated needles to test villagers for diabetes.
When news first surfaced about the HIV outbreak, Iran’s Health Minister denied the villagers’ claims and blamed it on “addicts” and “unsuitable relationships” in the village.
State-run media echoed his remarks adding that only 28 people were infected.
These comments infuriated Lordegan residents who took to the streets in the thousands.
Chanting “death to dictator” protesters burned down the governor’s office, the health clinic responsible for the outbreak and the office of the Friday prayers Imam, who represents the regime’s Supreme Leader in the city.
Amateur videos showed injured and bloody protesters. Some were shot with pellet guns including a 15 year old boy.
A young man identified as Saadatollah (Gharib) Mousavi was also shot and killed by riot police.
Iranians in the central province of Isfahan also held large gatherings in support of Lordegan protests.