Lack of water, farmers’ suffering!

A number of protesters were injured in assaults by Iranian regime security forces during a demonstration by farmers and other workers in Isfahan on Monday (April 9). The farmers had taken to the streets in protest at deteriorating conditions which put their livelihoods at severe risk, demanding that the Iranian regime provide them with access to water to irrigate their crops and protesting at being denied the most basic rights.

The protesters gathered in the central Khorasgan Square in central Isfahan at around 8:00 am on Monday morning before setting off in a group towards Ali’s mosque, chanting mottos to express their anger at the worsening situation and the regime’s broken promises. A large number of local people, also angry at the deteriorating economic situation and the crisis afflicting the country joined the protesters who chanted slogans, including, “Rouhani, you’re a liar, where’s our Zayandeh Rud?”, “It’s the day of mourning today; a farmer’s life is gone with the wind today”, “Zayandeh Rud is our absolute right,” and “Sheikh Bahaie, bless you, your rights have disappeared.”

Meanwhile, the regime stationed heavily armed security personnel along the route of the protest who closed the Ahmedabad gates in the town to the farmers to try to force them to abandon their demonstration. When the protesters changed their route and continued on, gathering at the Khaju Bridge in the city, the regime deployed more anti-riot police to disperse the demonstrators, with officers brutally and indiscriminately assaulting the protesters, injuring several of them, in an attempt to terrorize them into ending the demonstration.

Until recently, the farmers of Eastern Isfahan had benefited from a right to water since the days of Sheikh Bahaie, a prominent figure from the pre-revolution period, but after continuous droughts in Iran, these water rights have been withdrawn from farmers in the Varzaneh area, who cannot irrigate their spring or autumn crops, leading to increasing anger and several mass demonstrations and protests by farmers and others in the Isfahan region