Mass protests against the authorities’ indifference to the fate of drying out Lake Urmia were held in the Iranian cities of Tabriz and Urmia on May 21.
According to the Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP), the police used bikes, rubber batons, then plastic bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters.
According to the group, during clashes with security forces in Tabriz and Urmia more than 100 people were detained.
Similar events took place in the same cities last year. Then too, dozens of Azerbaijani activists were arrested and punished.
The area of Lake Urmia is about 6000 square kilometres. During bird migration the lake becomes their temporary haven. Due to prolonged drought what happens in the Urmia shallows, affects the flora and fauna of the surrounding region. Environmental specialists noted that measures taken by the Iranian government are not enough to rescue the lake.
Currently, each litre of water in Lake Urmia contains 330 grams of salt. Previously, the figure stood at 160-170 grams per litre. Increase in the salt concentration is due to the fact that one-third of the lake dried up and actually turned into salt marshes.
22 May 2012