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Iranian Documentary Makers Set To Immortalize Protest Victims


Protesters in Shiraz, Iran carrying a wounded comrade. November 16 or 17, 2019

In a joint statement 135 Iranian documentary film makers have vowed to commemorate the victims of the recent deadly protests in Iran by documenting their lives and the protests.

Sympathizing with the families of mid-November anti-regime demonstrations, the directors have insisted that they would not close their eyes to the realities of Iran's current situation and will document and preserve the tragic saga of the people, as well as what they went through.

An unexpected overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices on November 15 triggered a series of protests that soon turned into rallies against the clergy-dominated establishment in Iran. People in 28 out of 31 provinces of Iran joined the demonstrations calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic.

Security and the fearsome Special Units, supported by armed plainclothesmen and members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps ruthlessly suppressed the protests within four days, killed hundreds, injured, and arrested thousands more.

The uprising has been described as the deadliest in the Islamic Republic's four-decade-old history.

The documentary-makers statement is published at a time when arresting people for attending protests, as well as security forces terrorizing the relatives of the victims of the uprising and stopping them from holding funerals for their loved ones have gained momentum in the past few days.

Demanding respect for the honor of the bereaved families, the documentary directors vowed: "We are going to narrate the story of desperate people deprived of a piece of bread and ready to die. We are going to tell the story of the victims buried without a funeral, and the tale of the victims without a grave, as well as the story of unidentified prisoners who might have a close relationship with each of us.”

A special Reuters’ report on December 23 said that about 1,500 people were killed during less than a week of unrest that started on November 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three unnamed Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least seventeen teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police.

The Islamic Republic has still not released any casualty report or numbers.

Meanwhile, data collected by Radio Farda show that within one month after the protests broke out, at least 8,000 people have been detained across Iran.

Amnesty International has called on the international community to take urgent action and ask the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session and "mandate an inquiry into the unlawful killings of protesters, horrifying wave of arrests, enforced disappearances and torture of detainees, with a view to ensuring accountability."

Prominent Iranian film directors, Ms. Mahnaz Afzali, Ms. Mina Akbari, Mostafa Al-e Ahmad and Mohsen Amir Youssefi are among the signatories of the statement.

Earlier in the final day of "Cinema Verite" festival in Tehran, the winner of the festival's best director award, Mohsen Ostad Ali, devoted his prize to a victim of the recent protests, 27-year-old Pouya Bakhtiari, and praised him as Iran's "most daring Iranian documentary maker ever."

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