Arab-Iranian activist talks about Ahwaz unrest
Despite the strict media blackout imposed on Arab-Iranians since the start of the protests on April 15, also called Day of Fury, AlArabiya.net managed to speak to a female activist from the heart of the conflict in Ahwaz.
A female Arab-Iranian activist who calls herself “Ebnat al-Ahwaz,” Arabic for “Daughter of Ahwaz,” spoke to Al Arabiya.net from the city of Ahwaz, the capital of the predominantly-Arab province of Khuzestan, previously called Arabstan.
“The province is going through a very tough time,” she said in an interview with AlArabiya.net in which she appeared masked for fear of retaliation by the Iranian authorities. “Iranian security forces are imposing a strict siege on us and are using militiamen dressed in civilian clothes and they disperse demonstrations by force.”
She added that the paramilitary Basij forces are also playing a major role in suppressing the revolts that started on April 15 in commemoration of Bloody Friday, when more than 20 Arab-Iranians were killed, 500 injured, and 250 arrested on April 15, 2005 during protests in the city of Ahwaz.
The humanitarian situation in Ahwaz, she explained, is deplorable with food and water running out, and stores closed.
Daughter of Ahwaz confirmed reports issued by the April 15 Youth Movement that 15 Ahwazis were killed since the beginning of the protests and added that the number of protestors arrested is still unknown.
“Iranian authorities carry out their arrests in a random manner and they might have reached thousands.”
The activist denied that there is any media coverage in Ahwaz and stressed that protestors rely on taking videos and photos with their mobile phones and posting them on the internet to make what is happening in the city known to the whole world.
“We want people to know that all Ahwazis from all cities and villages in the province took to the streets in the Ahwazi Day of Fury.”
Daughter of Ahwaz called upon the Arab world to interfere and protect them from the brutal suppression of their protests by the Iranian government.
Despite covering her face for protection, Daughter of Ahwaz risked her life when she appeared in the interview with the Ahwazi flag in the background, a crime that can be punishable by death in Iran.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)