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Ahwaz protesters defy police disbursal of Karoun demo

Eighty Ahwaz residents defied a police dispersal order and on Friday (8 November) held a fifth protest in succession to Save the Karoun River.

In recent weeks, thousands from Ahwazis of different backgrounds and of different ages have held hands in a silent protest against dam construction, which is leading to the drying up of Iran's biggest and only navigable river.

The protests have attracted international attention and media coverage, prompting panic within the Iranian government that the environmentalist movement could become a rallying point for political opposition.

Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar put on a show of listening to protesters, but has refused to pledge an end to the environmentally damaging dam construction project that has drawn sharp criticism from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Although police and security forces had attempted to close down the protest, some gathered spontaneously and without prior announcement to continue to press their demands.