Iranian protesters demand justice as death toll from building collapse rises


TEHRAN (AFP) – Hundreds of people took to the streets of southwestern Iran to demand justice after a tower collapsed that killed 24 people, Islamic republic media said yesterday.

Much of the 10-story Metropol building that was under construction in the city of Abadan, Khuzestan province, collapsed on Monday, causing one of the deadliest disasters in Iran in years.

Footage released by the Fars news agency showed hundreds of residents marching through the streets of Abadan on Thursday evening, mourning those who lost their lives beating traditional drums and banging cymbals.

Some shouted “Death to incompetent officials” and hailed the “Martyrs of Metropol”, Fars said.

People also took to the streets in the town of Khorramshahr in the same province, expressing sympathy for the families of those who died and calling for a “decisive and serious” trial of those responsible, he added.

Similar protests took place on Wednesday evening in Abadan, state television reported.

More than four days after the tower collapsed, rescue teams were still recovering bodies from under cement slabs.

Video posted on the Tasnim news agency website yesterday showed rescuers carrying a stretcher with a body wrapped in a black bag.

The Governor of Abadan, Ehsan Abbaspour, quoted by ISNA news agency, said the number of people killed in the disaster stood at 24, down from 19 previously.

Officials said 37 people were also injured, although most have since been discharged from hospital.

It remains unclear how many people may still be trapped under the rubble.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted and punished, in a statement posted Thursday on his official website.

The provincial judiciary said at least 10 people had been arrested following the incident, including the mayor and two former mayors, accused of being ‘responsible’ for the collapse, the website Mizan Online reported. of the judiciary.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the disaster in Abadan, a city of 230,000 inhabitants, 660 kilometers southwest of Tehran.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber visited Abadan yesterday to ‘investigate the dimensions of the building collapse incident’, according to ISNA.

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