Protests over water shortage and its salinity have turned violent in Iran’s southwestern port city of Khorramshahr, with demonstrators damaging public property.
Some of the protesters threw stones and other objects at the police which asked them to disperse on Saturday night, state news agency IRNA reported.
The protesters later marched on the streets and reportedly damaged banks as well as garbage cans and set fire to a bridge and a museum.
Khorramshahr Governor Valiollah Hayati told IRNA Sunday that no one had been killed in the unrest and that only five people had sustained light injuries.
He said the initial protest over the issue of water salinity had been peaceful but that several “troublemakers” had taken advantage of the situation to wreak havoc, setting up bonfires and destroying public property at an intersection.
“Investigations show that those involved in unruly behavior were not residents of Khorramshahr and had come from other cities,” Hayati said.
“These individuals attacked stores and pharmacies with bats and sticks and created terror among the citizens by breaking glasses and burning part of the urban furniture. Some of the rioters were armed who fired in the air in several instances,” IRIB News reported.
Life has now returned to normal in the city and the conspiracy been foiled thanks to the timely deployment of law enforcement forces, Hayati said.
The governor assured that better quality drinking water will be on tap by Friday, calling on residents to practice self-restraint and ignore rumors being circulated on social media networks.