Iran arrested more than 60 people in connection with protests over water shortages in the central city of Isfahan on Friday, state media reported citing a security official.
Security forces have so far arrested 67 of the “main agents and motivators” of Friday’s unrest, the semi-official Fars news agency cited Hassan Karami, head of the police’s special units, as saying.
Security forces clashed on Friday with demonstrators who were protesting the government’s water management policies in Isfahan, videos shared on social media showed.
Security forces attacked protesters with batons in the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River and fired tear gas to disperse them, some videos shared on social media showed.
Karami blamed “anti-revolutionary elements” for Friday’s violence in Isfahan. Iranian officials use the term “anti-revolutionary” to refer to groups opposed to the Islamic Republic.
Iran Human Rights, an Oslo-based rights group, said security forces arrested more than 120 people over Friday’s protests in Isfahan.
The protests continued late on Friday in some parts of Isfahan with protesters chanting “death to the dictator,” a chant aimed at Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, footage circulating on social media showed.
Isfahan’s once-famed Zayandehrud River, which has dried up due to drought and mismanagement, has been the scene of protests led by farmers in the past two weeks against the government’s water management policies.
Government officials have blamed low rainfall for water shortages in Isfahan and elsewhere in the country.
In July, deadly protests broke out in the southwestern province of Khuzestan over water shortages.