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  27 May 2022, 16:57

Iran protesters seek justice as building collapse toll rises

TEHRAN, May 27, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Hundreds of people took to the streets in 
southwestern Iran demanding justice after a tower block collapse killed 24 
people, news outlets in the Islamic republic said on Friday.

A large section of the 10-storey Metropol building that was under 
construction in the city of Abadan, in Khuzestan province, crumbled on 
Monday, causing one of Iran's deadliest such disasters in years.

Images published by Fars news agency showed hundreds of residents marching 
along Abadan's streets on Thursday night, mourning those who lost their lives 
by banging on traditional drums and hitting cymbals.

Some shouted "Death to incompetent officials" and hailed the "Martyrs of 
Metropol", Fars said.

People also took to the streets of Khorramshahr city, in the same province, 
expressing their sympathy with the families of those who died and calling for 
"a decisive and serious" trial of those responsible, it added.

Similar protests were held on Wednesday night in Abadan, state TV had 
reported.

More than four days after the tower block's collapse, rescue teams were still 
recovering bodies from under slabs of cement.

A video posted on Tasnim news agency's website on Friday showed rescuers 
carrying a gurney with a body wrapped in a black bag.

Abadan governor Ehsan Abbaspour, cited by ISNA news agency, said the number 
of people killed in the disaster stood at 24, up from 19 previously.

Officials said 37 people were also injured, although most have since been 
discharged from hospital.

It remains unknown how many people may still be trapped under the rubble.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had called for perpetrators to 
be prosecuted and punished, in a statement posted on his official website on 
Thursday.

The provincial judiciary said at least 10 people were arrested following the 
incident, including the mayor and two former mayors, accused of being 
"responsible" for the collapse, the Judiciary's Mizan Online website 
reported.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the disaster in Abadan, a 
city of 230,000 people, 660 kilometres (410 miles) southwest of Tehran.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber visited Abadan on Friday to 
"investigate the dimensions of the building collapse incident", according to 
ISNA.

In a previous major disaster in Iran, 22 people, including 16 firefighters, 
died in a blaze that engulfed the capital's 15-storey Plasco shopping centre 
in January 2017.

 


 

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