Dozens of ethnic Baluch rights activists have staged a protest in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi to condemn the killing of their ethnic brethren by Iranian border guards last month.
The protest comes amid reports of violent unrest and Internet blackouts in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province triggered after security forces killed cross-border fuel smugglers.
Human Rights Watch last month said at least 10 people were killed at the Saravan border area near Pakistan on February 22, although the number of dead may be higher.
In the wake of the killings, there have been reports of armed men attacking Iranian government buildings and security forces near the border, prompting a harsh crackdown.
In Karachi, the protesters demanded of the Iranian government stop using violence against smugglers and protesters who have few other means of earning a living in the poverty-stricken region.
They also demanded compensation for those who have been killed and injured.
Sistan-Baluchistan, one of Iran’s poorest provinces, is a volatile area where drug smugglers and militant groups operate along a porous border with Pakistan, which also faces an ethnic Baluch separatist insurgency and a brutal state crackdown that has killed thousands of people since 2004.
This post was originally published on Radio Free.