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  28 May 2022, 13:42

Iran police tear-gas protesters after building collapse: media

TEHRAN, May 28, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Iranian police fired tear gas and warning 
shots to disperse protesters in the southwestern city of Abadan where a tower 
block collapse killed 28 people, local media reported on Saturday.

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

It was the third night of protests in Abadan and other cities of the province 
which borders Iraq, local media reported.

Security forces in Abadan "used tear gas and shot in the air near the 
collapse site" on Friday night to disperse hundreds of protesters, who were 
mourning the lives lost and demanding justice for the perpetrators of the 
incident, Fars news agency said.

A number of people shouted "death to incompetent officials" and "incompetent 
officials must be executed", similar to calls in protests on Wednesday and 
Thursday nights, it added.

Elsewhere in Khuzestan another protest, in the city of Bandar-e Mahshahr, saw 
people chanting while banging on traditional drums and hitting cymbals, 
images published by Fars showed.

People also took to the streets further afield including in the central 
Iranian cities of Isfahan, Yazd and Shahin Shahr on Friday to express 
sympathy with the victims of the tragedy, Fars news agency said.


On Thursday night, a shop in Abadan belonging to the family of the building's 
owner "was set on fire and destroyed by unknown individuals," Tasnim news 
agency reported earlier.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is in Abadan, said on Saturday that "two 
more bodies were recovered" and sent for identification, raising the death 
toll to 28, according to state news agency IRNA.

Officials, however, have not announced how many are people still trapped 
under the rubble.

The number of suspects has also risen.

Khuzestan's provincial judiciary said on Saturday that 13 people have now 
been arrested in relation with the incident, including the mayor and two 
former mayors, IRNA said.

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

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber told state television that "widespread 
corruption existed between the contractor, the builder, the supervisor and 
the licensing system".

In January 2017, 22 people, including 16 firefighters, died in a blaze that 
engulfed the 15-storey Plasco shopping centre in Tehran.

 


 

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