London, 7 Sep – Five protesters in Iran have been wounded as the security forces used tear gas to disperse them on Tuesday September 5.
Activists in Baneh and Mariwan had shut their shops and taken to the streets in protest at the extrajudicial killings of two Kurdish porters (kolbars) by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
They stormed the Mayor’s Building and set several rooms and vehicles on fire.
The kolbars, Heydar Faraji, 21, and Qader Bahrami, 45, had been carrying goods across the Iran-Kurdistan Region border.
The French-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network released a statement about the protests, which read: “After a month of strikes inside the city, hundreds of people went to the mayor’s building with the slogan ‘Stop murdering Kolbars’ and ‘Mayor must resign.’
Counter-terrorism forces attack the protesters near the mayor’s building,”
Kolbars are quasi-legal porters who carry goods across the treacherous mountains between the Kurdistan Region and Iran’s Kurdish provinces; they are routinely harassed by the Iranian authorities because they harm the profits of the IRGC who smuggle in goods from other countries, and many are murdered by the Regime.
Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, has offered her condolences to the families of the victims and called upon all freedom-loving people in Kurdistan and other Iranian cities to support the protesters.
In 2016, the Iranian Regime announced that they would issue special licenses to kolbars so that they could pass freely through the borders but unfortunately the many restrictions meant that this was out of reach for many people.
You were only eligible to apply for a pass if you were the head of a household (meaning that adult children could not be kobars to support ailing parents), had finished your military service, and live within 15 kilometres of the border.
Given the poverty in that area, many take the risk in order to provide for their families.
42 kolbars were shot dead in 2016 by the Iranian authorities, according to Kurdistan Human Rights Network, while at least 30 people have been injured or killed so far in 2017.
The Iranian Regime officially considers unlicensed kolbars to be smugglers who pose a risk to national security, but really the IRGC want to make more profit on their smuggled goods, despite already making $25 billion a year.
Back in March, the Iranian Resistance revealed that the IRGC controls about 45% of Iran’s total piers and uses them mostly for smuggling.