2,000 tea growers and farmers in Lahijan and Langaroud stage protests

More than 2,000 farmers and tea growers in Lahijan and Langaroud gathered at 10 am yesterday to protest against the government's refusal to buy their produce, a decision that has had a devastating impact on farming communities in this area of northern Iran.

The demonstration, which took place along the 10-kilometer Lahijan-Langaroud highway, went on until 11 pm. Protesters chanted slogans against local officials and the leaders of the clerical regime. Many people from nearby villages joined the demonstrators.

Hundreds of State Security Forces (SSF) agents, equipped with anti-riot gear, were sent to the scene to suppress the protest, but tea growers and farmers set fire to tires, and set up barricades and punctured the tires of security forces' cars, blocking their advance.

A number of SSF vehicles were also set on fire. Several security agents who attacked the crowd were beaten up by protesters.

Local officials asked provincial authorities in Rasht, the capital of Gilan Province, to send reinforcements to the area, but with roads barricaded and sealed off by protesting farmers, security forces are finding it difficult to dispatch more units to the area.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 20, 2001

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