Birdshot and tear gas fired at protesters in Iran's city, Isfahan
- United Arab Emirates
Police fired tear gas and birdshot while fighting protesters with batons on Friday in a central Iranian city that has seen days of demonstrations demanding government action over a drought, online videos show.
The social media videos and others from activists show police and protesters clashing in the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River in the city of Isfahan.
Videos from Human Rights Activists in Iran show demonstrators throwing stones at police, while others depict bloodied protesters, including one man who appeared to have wounds in his back from birdshot.
They also show similar unrest in nearby streets in Isfahan, which is 340 kilometres south of the capital Tehran.
Some people in Isfahan later Friday reported that mobile internet service was disrupted in the city.
Iran in the past has shut down both mobile and landline internet to halt protests.
That included a nationwide shutdown during 2019 protests over rising government-set gasoline prices that Amnesty International says saw over 300 people killed.
Farmers reportedly ended a long protest in the area on Thursday after authorities promised to compensate them for losses suffered in drought-stricken areas of central Iran.
Drought has been a problem in Iran for some 30 years, but it has worsened over the past decade, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The Iran Meteorological Organisation says that an estimated 97% of the country now faces some level of drought.
The river once flowed under historic bridges in Isfahan's city centre, but is now a barren strip of dirt.
In 2012, farmers clashed with police in a town in Isfahan province, breaking a water pipe that diverted some 50 million cubic metres of water a year to a neighbouring province. Similar protests have continued sporadically since then.
(With inputs from agencies.)