A major fire has reportedly been put out at a prison in Iran’s capital, Evin. Firing was reported, but the situation is under control, according to officials.
– Activist website 1500tasvir reported on Saturday evening that shots were being heard and smoke could be seen coming from Evin prison.
Hours later, officials confirmed through state news agency IRNA that there had been “peace and clashes” at the prison.
Evin Prison, north of Tehran, houses political prisoners, opposition parties and human rights activists. The incident comes as nationwide protests against the regime enter their fifth week.
Thousands of people protested on Saturday under the slogan “beginning of the end”. People chanted “Death to the dictator,” a chant that has been widely used in Iran over the past month.
A senior official tells IRNA that the fire in Evin started when prisoners set fire to a warehouse full of prisoners’ uniforms. According to the source, “troublemakers” were separated from others in an attempt to calm the situation.
– On Saturday evening the official says that the situation is now completely under control.
Reports of outbreaks
But images of the fire continue to circulate on social media, where several videos where gunshots can be heard have been shared. Witnesses told the Associated Press that police blocked roads leading to Evin prison and that at least three powerful explosions were heard in the area.
Ambulances and fire trucks were accompanied by riot police on motorcycles en route to the prison. According to eyewitnesses, internet is banned in the area. Several cars honked in unison for anti-regime demonstrators.
The US-based Organization for Human Rights in Iran says an “armed conflict” broke out inside the prison walls.
– An eyewitness told the news agency that inmates’ families had gathered at the main entrance of Evin prison. Reuters Earlier in the evening.
– I can see fire and smoke. Many special forces. The man says ambulances are also here.
Human rights violations
Mizan, the official website of Iran’s judiciary, said the fire had been extinguished and that part of the prison had started burning due to “a fight between several inmates”.
Political prisoners have been held in the large Evin prison since the early 1970s, before the dictator Shah was overthrown in a widespread popular uprising, and Ruhollah Khomeini and his supporters installed an Islamist clerical government.
Western human rights groups have long raised concerns about conditions there, and in 2018 the US government determined that serious human rights abuses were taking place here.
“Death to the Dictator!”
The protests in Iran began after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of the so-called morality police on September 16. Three days ago, she was stopped on the street in Tehran for not covering her hair sufficiently.
Young women led the protests, chanting slogans for equality and regime change, burning headscarves and cutting their hair in protest against the regime’s exercise of power.
According to the Oslo-based exile group Iran Human Rights, at least 108 people were killed by security forces during the protests, and 93 were killed in other clashes in Jahedan.
Several hundred people have been arrested.
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