Iranian security forces used heavy gunfire against protesters in a Kurdish town in the country’s west on Monday, killing at least five during an anti-government protest that erupted at the funeral of two people killed the day before, activists said.
Videos circulating online show dozens of protesters taking shelter in alleyways as heavy gunfire echoes through the streets.
Some show individuals lying motionless and bloodied in the streets, while others show residents gathering at a local hospital to donate blood.
Another video showed mourners at a funeral on Monday chanting that a 16-year-old boy, Bahaedin, had been shot dead the day before. The mourners called him a “martyr of Kurdistan.”
Iran has been convulsed by anti-government protests since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died in the custody of the country’s morality police in the capital, Tehran.
The protests, which were initially concentrated in the western, Kurdish region of Iran where Amini was from, have spread across the country and escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics.
Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights group, said Iranian security forces unleashed heavy gunfire on protesters in the town of Javanrud, where a funeral was held for two protesters killed the day before.
It cited witnesses as saying that Iranian forces used heavy machine guns.
Hengaw said seven people were killed on Monday, while another group, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, put the toll at five.
The latter group said many of the wounded were being treated in homes because of fears they could be arrested from hospitals, making it difficult to confirm the toll.
It said several were shot in the head or chest.
Iranian authorities heavily restrict media coverage of the protests and have periodically shut off internet access, making it difficult to confirm details of the unrest.
The semiofficial Fars news agency reported protests in Javanrud on Sunday night, saying security forces were fired upon with live ammunition.
It said two people were killed and four wounded.
There were no immediate reports in state-linked media about the violence on Monday.
Funerals have often been the scene of renewed protests in recent weeks, as they were during the 1979 Iranian Revolution that brought the clerics to power.
The latest demonstrations mark the biggest challenge to the theocracy in over a decade.
At least 426 people have been killed and more than 17,400 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the unrest.
It said at least 55 members of the security forces have been killed.