ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Hundreds of demonstrators staged protests in Iran’s Kurdistan Province, and many were arrested, as Iranian authorities hanged the third Kurdish activist in two weeks.
Sources told Rudaw that hundreds gathered at the main square in the provincial capital, Saqqez, to protest the executions.
“The security forces were quickly deployed in the city to disperse and suppress the protests,” a source at the scene said. ” The security forces have also arrested many of the protestors,” the witness added.
The town of Mariwan in the same province also witnessed similar protests, demanding the release of Kurdish prisoners and an end to the hangings. Sources said the security forces arrested tens of the protesters, most of them young Kurds who rallied peacefully in the center of the town.
The source also said, the protesters chanted “no for hanging” and demanded the release of the Kurdish political prisoners.
Iranian authorities executed Sherko Ma’arifi earlier this week in the city’s prison, the third Kurdish activist to be hanged in just two weeks.
Iran also hanged Kurdish activists Habibollah Golparipour and Reza Ismaili late last month, despite pleas by Kurdish political parties in Iran and human rights organizations, including London-based Amnesty International. They were hanged for alleged links with the Kurdish Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK).
PJAK, which enjoys close ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey, is the only Kurdish guerrilla group that is involved in active guerrilla warfare against Tehran.
Last week, thousands of Kurds in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Hakkari province (Colemerg in Kurdish) marched to the Esendere border crossing with Iran to protest the executions. Meanwhile, Kurds gathered outside the Iranian Consulate in Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, condemning Iran’s crackdown on Kurdish activists.
According to reports, 30 more Kurdish political activists in Iran have been sentenced to death and are on death row.
In Iran’s presidential elections in June, many Kurds voted for the moderate Hassan Rouhani, hoping for greater cultural and economic rights and freedom.
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Also cultural activists embarked on a civil disobedience campaign in the city parks by hanging figures off trees.