Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Associated Press)-According to media reports, police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people in the central Iranian city, protesting against the government’s response to the drought.
Some videos on social media appeared to show police and protesters clashed on the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River. The video corresponds to known features of the area, although the Associated Press could not immediately obtain the original poster of the material. Other videos showed similar riots in the streets near Isfahan.
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency said that a powerful army ended the rally of about 500 people in Isfahan. Another report from the semi-official Tasnim agency stated that the unidentified perpetrator damaged a pipeline that carried water from Isfahan to other provinces last night.
According to reports, farmers ended the recent weeks of protests in the region on Thursday after the authorities promised to compensate for the damage suffered in the arid region of central Iran.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, drought has been a problem in Iran for about 30 years, but it has worsened in the past decade. The Iranian Meteorological Organization stated that it is currently estimated that 97% of the country is facing some degree of drought.
The agricultural areas around Isfahan used to have sufficient supplies of the Zayandhrud River, but over the years, nearby factories have increasingly used it. The river used to flow through the historic bridges in the center of Isfahan, but it is now a barren soil.
In 2012, a farmer clashed with the police in a town in Isfahan Province, destroying the water pipe that transfers approximately 50 million cubic meters of water to neighboring provinces each year. Since then, similar protests have occurred from time to time.