Iranian security forces have put a violent end to demonstrations in Tabriz and Oroumieh, arresting dozens of protesters who were speaking out against the government's inaction as Lake Oroumieh rapidly dries out.
Protesters in Oroumieh condemned "the government's policy of drying out Lake Oroumieh." The Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners reports that the gatherings were attended by thousands of protesters. According to eyewitnesses, the government forces used tear gas bombs and batons to disperse the crowd, injuring and arresting dozens of protesters.
Lake Urmia (Oroumieh) is a
salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of
East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan, west of the southern portion of the
similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake inside Iran, and the third
salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km square
(2,000 mile square).
Families of the detainees have told Radio Zamaneh that authorities aren't saying where they're being held.
Earlier, 22 Iranian MPs called for immediate action regarding the critical situation at Lake Oroumieh, which is quickly becoming a salt field, a process that has been accelerated by the numerous dams built on the rivers that feed it.
The government has so far confronted public outcry in the region by arresting activists.