Thousands of protesters march in funeral held for dissident poet in Ahwaz

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Thousands of protesters marched in the streets of Ahwaz city in Iran during the funeral procession held for a young dissident poet who died the previous day in an Iranian hospital under suspicious conditions.

The protesters chanted “in spirit, and in blood, we will redeem you Ahwaz,” during the funeral held on Monday for Hassan Heydari who died the previous night a month after his last arrest.

According to several Ahwazi activists on Twitter, protesters believe that Heydari was poisoned by the regime’s intelligence ministry during his last arrest.

One video being shared on social media showed protesters taking down the Iranian flag from several poles in the Kut Abdollah district south of Ahwaz during the demonstrations.

Several activists on Twitter said reports indicated that Iranian authorities attempted to disperse the protests with tear gas.

Witnesses also confirmed the large presence of Iranian security forces deployed to Ahwaz overnight in response to popular protests which erupted following Heydari’s death.

Heydari’s death came just a day after Iranian authorities arrested Saeed Bawi after a video emerged of him shouting pro-Arab slogans at a football match in Foolad Arena stadium last week.

The Arab minority population in southwestern Iran has long claimed that they face discrimination from the central government in Tehran.

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