Zahedan's 'Bloody Friday': Reconstructing a massacre in Iran's Sistan and Baluchistan province
Iranian security forces opened fire after Friday prayers in the southeastern city of Zahedan on September 30, killing at least 66 people, in what is the bloodiest day of the country's recent wave of protests so far. People are calling the massacre Zahedan's "Bloody Friday" after tensions rose to a breaking point in the capital of Iran's poorest province. With help from eyewitnesses and videos shared online, we have pieced together what happened.
The scene took place in Zahedan, the capital of the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, near the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan. People in this province, like people throughout the country, have been protesting against the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was arrested by the morality police.
But in Sistan and Baluchistan, there are other issues at play. As Iran’s poorest province, it is also home to the Sunni Baluch minority, who complain of decades of neglect and economic hardship. Local tensions have been inflamed recently by an allegation that a police chief in the port of Chabahar raped a 15-year-old Baluch girl.
In this special video report, we outline how tensions mounted after people finished their Friday prayers at Zahedan's prayer site, which is just across the street from a police station.
Our Observer, an eyewitness to the massacre, told us what he saw.