Iranian police use teargas to disperse crowd protesting over building collapse that left 28 dead

Authorities have arrested 13 people as part of a broad investigation into the building's collapse, including the city's mayor.

Associated PressUpdated: Saturday, May 28, 2022, 03:42 PM IST
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Site of a collapsed 10-story building that left 28 people dead in Iran's Abadan | Photo: Twitter Image

Police lobbed canisters of tear gas and fired in the air to disperse people gathered near the site of a collapsed 10-story building that left 28 people dead, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The report said people insisted on entering the site in the southwestern city of Abadan on Friday night and the gathering turned into a riot. Police then dispersed people from the area, it said.

In other cities people gathered peacefully to mourn, the report said. A video posted online showed a security officer in Abadan yelling "go back" while pointing his weapon directly at a group of people and firing.

In other videos, people can be seen and heard chanting "death to dictator" and "Our enemy is here, they lie that it is America." It was unclear whether anyone was hurt.

A tower at the Metropol Building in Abadan that was under construction collapsed Monday. Rescue teams pulled two more bodies from the rubble on Saturday, bringing the death toll in the disaster to 28.

Thirty-seven people were rescued and three of them were still being treated in a hospital, according to authorities. It was unclear how many more people are buried beneath the rubble.

Authorities have arrested 13 people as part of a broad investigation into the building's collapse, including the city's mayor. The deadly collapse has raised questions about the safety of similar buildings in the country and underscored an ongoing crisis in Iranian construction projects.

The collapse reminded many of the 2017 fire and collapse of the iconic Plasco building in Tehran that killed 26 people. Abadan provincial officials have cited "disregard for technical standards" and "overbuilding" during construction, saying negligence caused the collapse.

The building was legally permitted to be a six-story tower, but four floors had been added during construction. Meanwhile, state-run media reported Saturday that two police and a civilian were wounded when two gunmen shot them in downtown Tehran, the capital. It said one officer was in critical condition.

The IRNA report said one of the shooters was arrested. Earlier this month, a senior member of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, was shot dead outside his home in Tehran by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike.

Gun violence is rare in Iran, where citizens are only allowed to own hunting rifles.

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