Protesters in Ahwaz bring down Iranian flags during a funeral procession held for a young dissident poet who died the previous day under suspicious conditions, footage from earlier in the day shows.https://t.co/fcbDkCUmKl pic.twitter.com/QuwMih2lnX— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) November 11, 2019
"With our blood we will redeem you Ahvaz," chanted the protesters as they were prevented from attending Haidari's funeral on Monday, according to Al Arabiya. Protesters believe that the poet was poisoned by security forces. Demonstrators were confronted with tear gas and eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya that there was a large security presence in the area as the area has seen protests before.Haidari was arrested in August of last year and was released on bond in September of the same year, according to Radio Farda. Reza Najafi, Khuzestan's provinical security and police chief, said that Haidari died from a stroke. Protesters have called the death "suspicious."The Iranian IRNA news agency reported that Haidari's father attributed the protests to rumors, reiterating that his son died of a heart attack, adding that one of his brothers is a member of the IRGC.The poet was known for his criticisms of the Iranian government and has been arrested multiple times, according to Anadolou Agency."We do not fear the armies of Iran or its guards and we meet their tanks with our chests," chanted protesters in Ahvaz in a video tweeted by Arab Ahwazi journalist Mohammed Majeed Al-Ahwazi. Other videos posted by the journalist show large groups of protesters filling streets in the area.
منطقة كوت عبدالله حي الشكارة في الأحواز الأن . انظروا إلى هذا المشهد العربي المهيب والرائع ، هؤلاء ابناء عمومتكم في الخط الأمامي لمواجهة العدوان الإيراني بالمنطقة العربية✌️ pic.twitter.com/MUBdmOhPqF— محمد مجيد الأحـوازي (@MohamadAhwaze) November 11, 2019
Most of the videos of protests show demonstrators jumping in a circle.Protesters set fire to government buildings and destroyed banners with pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Islamic Republic founder Ruhollah Khomeini, according to the Iranian dissident People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) organization.According to IRNA, protests broke out in the Kut Abdollah area south of Ahvaz but security forces were able to return calm to the area.On Saturday, Iranian Saeed Bowie was arrested by authorities at a soccer game after he led a chant saying "I am Arab, you are Arab, Ahvaz is Arab."
أعتقلت السلطات الإيرانية مشجع اسمه سعيد باوي يوم السبت على خلفية إطلاقه يوم الأثنين الماضي شعار: أنا عربي، أنت عربي، الأهواز عربي، ويعد باوي من أشهر مشجعي فريق فولاذ الأهواز لكرة القدم. pic.twitter.com/K2e8cfHUME— العربية (@AlArabiya) November 9, 2019
In May of last year, hundreds of people were arrested in Ahvaz amid protests against water and power cuts, poverty and alienation.In September of last year, 29 people were killed after a military parade in Ahvaz was attacked by an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province.Ahvaz is the regional capital of the ethnically diverse southwestern Khuzestan province, home to most of Iran's Arabs.Reuters contributed to this report.