Ganaveh, Aug 25 Government buildings in this major oil terminal and Persian Gulf port were still smoldering this morning after day-long clashes yesterday between several thousand protesters and security forces.
Trouble started when a large crowd gathered outside the governors office to protest against the planned transfer of the local hospital to the nearby town of Borazjan. When officials in the governors office refused to give in to their demands, angry young men began chanting slogans against the governor and clashed with local police.
The confrontation quickly turned violent and protesters seized the governors office. Across the town, protesters attacked government buildings, including the mayors office and the customs department, and set fire to police vehicles.
A dozen demonstrators were injured in the clashes, as anti-riot units of the State Security Forces came to the aid of the local police. Security agents beat up the protesters with truncheons and fired shots to disperse the crowds. Dozens of protesters were arrested and taken for questioning.
Unrest in the strategically-located Ganaveh, a major oil terminal, has alarmed Irans theocratic leaders, as it inevitably aggravates the grievances of oil workers and their families in southwestern Iran. Despite stringent measures to prevent any protest in the sensitive oil and petrochemical sector, oil workers have staged several strikes and protest actions in recent months.