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Riot police calm Isfahan after violent demonstration



TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Riot police were deployed Saturday after a number of arrests in the Iranian city of Isfahan, witnesses and state media said, a day after violent protests over the drying up of a lifeblood river.

Security forces fired tear gas during clashes Friday with stone-throwers at the protest by around 500 people in the bed of the Zayadneh Rood river that crosses the central city, Fars and ISNA news agencies said.

Security forces made “a limited number of arrests,” according to the province’s police chief.

“The situation is calm in the Zayandeh Roud riverbed and the streets are empty, but I heard riot police were deployed on the Khadjou bridge,” said a resident who works in the area.

“I used to walk along the riverbed with friends but today the riot police are deployed in large numbers near the Khajou bridge and they are asking people to avoid the area,” said a woman in her 50s who was contacted by phone.

The demonstration on Friday was the latest in a series in Isfahan, a tourist magnet due to its majestic mosques and heritage sites, including a historic bridge that crosses the dried-up river.
But it was the first to turn violent.