In Iran, five thousand Kurds arrived in the almost deserted town of Marivan on Wednesday (1 August) after marching for six-days in support of demands for self-rule in the region.
In Iran, five thousand Kurds arrived in the almost deserted town of Marivan on Wednesday (1 August) after marching for six-days in support of demands for self-rule in the region. Most of the eleven thousand residents of the town, located near the Iraqi border, fled into the countryside fearing a repeat of clashes that two weeks ago ended in twenty-two deaths.
The Kurdish demonstrators set off from Samamdaj one hundred and twenty-five kilometres (80 miles) from Marivan -- and six-days later arrived to deserted streets. Marivan's residents set up camp i a nearby forest fearing outbreaks of violence.
The demonstrators were escorted by armed guards. The first to set out were the families of Kurds arrested during skirmishes in Marivan two weeks ago. They were joined by others groups anxious to focus attention on the Kurdish ambitions for self-rule.
The marchers included five hundred women who raised their fists and chanted "we shall continue with our demands to the end -- the self-rule struggle will go on". Two weeks earlier clashes between Kurds and Islamic Revolutionary guards resulted in twenty-two deaths. The sixteen Kurds imprisoned during thee clashes were released in a gesture aimed at lowering tension in the region.
Revolutionary guards kept to their military barracks outside Marivan while the armed Kurds took over the town. Talks between Kurdish officials and the Governor General of Kurdistan have been going on for six days, without reaching a solution.
A Kurdish demand that Islamic guards should quit Marivan and hand over the administration to the local people has been refused. The Kurds have refused to recognise the Iranian government's policy that the army should play a security role in the border region. Banners carried by the protestors promised they would turn the disputed Kurdistan region into a cemetery for what they called reactionaries and plotters.
Three people were accidentally shot and wounded on Thursday (2 August) by an Iranian soldier in an armoured column heading for the troubled Kurdish town of Marivan. The force was on its way to Marivan after Kurdish inhabitants again rejected an agreement designed to restore calm to the town.