Five Iranian officers killed, hundreds of protesters held in recent clashes

People are affected by tear gas fired by anti-riot Iranian police to disperse demonstrators in a protest over Iran's weak economy, in Tehran, Iran. (AP)

At least five police officers were killed on Monday in clashes with protesters in northern Tehran, while hundreds of protesters were arrested and several injured, according to the Iranian Irna news agency.

The clashes were between security forces and dervishes of the Gonabadi denomination who had gathered in front of a police station, demanding the release of some members of their Sufi religious order, according to video footage posted on social media.

Some local news agencies reported the death of a number of police forces during the clashes.

A video of was posted showing a bus trampling a number of policemen involved in suppressing the protesting Sufis..

According to security sources, the bus driver was arrested, and investigations are underway to find out his identity.

The Sufi protests began after the arrest of a person named Nematollah Riahi about two weeks ago during violence in northern Tehran, where the Sufis gathered outside the house of their guide, "Nurallah Tabenda", following reports that the security forces intend to arrest him.

This occured although Tehran police chief Hussein Rahimi announced that "There is no intention to go after the Gonabadi Sufis in Tehran."

In the last two decades, Gonabadi Sufis have been subjected to security pursuits throughout Iran, with several arrested and facing charges.

Last Update: Tuesday, 20 February 2018 KSA 13:14 - GMT 10:14

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