UNREST CONTINUE IN SARAVAN, DESPITE CURFEW

TEHRAN 7 Dec. (IPS) Unrest in the city of Saravan, situated near the Pakistan border in the Sistan and Baloochistan province continue, five days after police shot dead a young motorist And despite curfew, according to Balooch sources both inside and outside Iran.

Though officials admitted to the killing of four people in clashes between the angry population and Law Enforcement and Revolutionary Guards forces, but other Baloochi sources say the number of dead is "much, much more".

"The police shot and killed a motorist who refused to obey an order to stop. After this incident, people started to protest and there were clashes between residents and the police", Mr. Ja’far Kambouzia, a representative of Zahedan, the Province’s Capital city at the Majles said earlier, cited by the independent Iranian student news agency ISNA.

"Unfortunately, despite the appeals to the police by local authorities for moderation in restoring calm, some of (the police) intervened and there were four deaths from gunfire", he said, adding that the protestors had destroyed "public property" and that following the clashes security forces had descended on the area in force.

According to other sources in the region, disturbances continued in the following days with residents challenging the security forces, making more dead and wounded among the civilians, who clashed with the police and the basij militia, shouting slogans against the regime and its leaders, but most particularly Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.

A Balooch journalist in Canada put the number of dead at 40, adding that hospital in the small city and others, as far as Zahdan, were "filled with injured people, most of them by bullets". "The city is under curfew, but protests continue", he said, quoting local sources.

Like most Iranian border regions with the exception of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the northwest, the population IN Sistan and Baloochistan are predominantly Sunni Muslims staunchly opposed to the Shi’a that is the Iranian official religion.

Unlike other religious minorities that are officially recognised, with the exception of the Baha’is who are banned, not recognized and severely repressed, the Sunnis have no status and contrary to the authorities who claims that as Muslims, they have equal rights with the Shi’a, they are also repressed, their mosques and schools shut and their preachers suffering limitations. ENDS SARAVAN UNRESTS 71203