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The BBC's Jim Muir reports
"Such outbursts have become more frequent"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Iranian women erect burning barricade
Iran demonstrations
Residents were protesting against their low standard of living
Hundreds of demonstrators, many of them women, have gathered near the Iranian capital, Tehran, and set fire to tyres and rubbish to protest against poor living conditions.

The demonstrators, who were from a poor working-class area near the large industrial city of Islamshahr, blocked the main road to the capital to complain about a lack of drinking water, gas and electricity.

The protests are part of a rise in social unrest in Iran, with demonstrations being seen against unpaid wages, joblessness and bad basic services.

There are reports that the demonstration was broken up by riot police with clubs and teargas, but this has not been independently confirmed.

Nothing to do

The reports said firemen who rushed to the scene to put out blazes were repelled by protesters blocking the road.

An official at Iran's interior ministry was reported as saying that the protesters wanted their district of Shatareh, which is home to about 20,000 people, to be put under the administration of Tehran municipality.

"Our children have nothing, drugs are easily available for them, but no sports facilities, no parks or a library," protester Bibi Zahra Akbari told the Associated Press news agency.

"Our water is bad, we cannot drink it, we see some sand in the drinking water," she added.

Shatareh has no hospitals or recreations facilities, and its schools are old and neglected.

Riots broke out in Islamshahr several years ago after bus fares to Tehran were increased.

Correspondents say patchy reforms introduced by the government of President Mohammad Khatami have failed to take effect.

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23 Jun 00 | Middle East
Country Profile: Iran
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