Iran disperses crowd angry over building collapse killing 29

May 28, 2022, 4:35 AM | Updated: May 29, 2022, 9:25 am

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the Metropol Building collapse site, center, in Aba...

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows the Metropol Building collapse site, center, in Abadan, Iran, Thursday, May 26, 2022. Iranian riot police fired tear gas and shot into the air to disperse an angry crowd of hundreds of people near the site of the building collapse in the southwestern city of Abadan, online video analyzed Saturday, May 28, 2022, showed. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

(Planet Labs PBC via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian riot police fired tear gas and shot into the air to disperse an angry crowd of hundreds of people near the site of a building collapse in the southwestern city of Abadan, online video analyzed Saturday showed.

One report by Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency also acknowledged the unrest late Friday over the disaster this week that killed at least 29 people, with more feared still buried under the rubble of the 10-story building. This comes as Iran suffers worsening economic conditions under crushing U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program, fueling concern in the Islamic Republic of renewed, widespread unrest.

Meanwhile, the country faced both targeted killings and other violence this week into Saturday, even as its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized two Greek oil tankers apparently over Athens allowing America to impound Iranian oil in the Mediterranean Sea.

Videos shared online showed a massive crowd of hundreds near the Metropol Building on Friday night, with lights shining on its facade. A second video showed demonstrators at street level chanting: “Our enemy is here; they lie that it is America!” A third showed an angry crowd with one shot heard. The person filming turned and ran, shouting: “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”

The details in the videos corresponded with each other and to known features of Abadan, some 660 kilometers (410 miles) southwest of the capital, Tehran. Foreign-based Farsi-language television channels described tear gas and other shots being fired.

Fars described the situation as a riot that forced police to intervene. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was injured or if police made any arrests.

In other cities people gathered peacefully to mourn, Fars and human rights activists reported. However, angry crowds have been gathering in Abadan since Iran on Thursday held a 100,000-person rally to mark the release of a new state-backed pop song called “Hello Commander.”

On Friday, protesters in Abadan shouted: “In Tehran, there is wedding; Abadan is bleeding!”

Authorities acknowledge the building’s owner and corrupt government officials allowed construction to continue at the Metropol Building despite concerns over its shoddy workmanship. The building collapsed on Monday. Authorities have arrested 13 people as part of a broad investigation into the disaster, including the city’s mayor.

Rescue teams pulled three more bodies from the rubble on Saturday, bringing the death toll in the collapse to 29.

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.

Meanwhile, violence continued elsewhere in the country. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said gunmen shot and wounded two police officers and a civilian Saturday in downtown Tehran. It said one officer was in critical condition. Authorities offered no cause.

Separately, the semiofficial ISNA news agency said a gunman shot and killed a senior police officer, Maj. Abbas Raah Anjam, in Iran’s restive Sistan and Baluchistan province. The attack also wounded his wife, ISNA said.

Gun violence is rare in Iran, where tight controls govern who can own a firearm.

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. Iran has blamed Israel for the shooting, which mirrored other attacks carried out by its intelligence service and allies.

Also on Saturday amid the regional tensions, Iranian state television aired footage of what it described as a “top secret” underground tunnel base for the country’s army in the heart of the country’s western Zagros Mountains. It said the tunnel was some 100 meters (330 feet) underground and was home to the Kaman-22 and Fotros drones, both capable of carrying cruise missiles.

Photos of the base later released by the army, however, contained a fire extinguisher with the word “Dalalu” written on it in Farsi — possibly the secret base’s location. Dalalu is a village in Iran’s western Kermanshah province in the Zagros Mountains.


Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Protesters stand outside of the Senate chamber at the Indiana Statehouse on Feb. 22, 2023, i...

Associated Press

LGBTQ+ Americans are under attack, Human Rights Campaign declares in state of emergency warning

The Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. on Tuesday.

2 days ago

FILE - People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in Washington to listen to oral arguments in a...

Associated Press

Supreme Court opened the door to states’ voting restrictions. Now a new ruling could widen them.

Within hours of a U.S. Supreme Court decision dismantling a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, Texas lawmakers announced plans to implement a strict voter ID law that had been blocked by a federal court. Lawmakers in Alabama said they would press forward with a similar law that had been on hold.

2 days ago

Gavel (Pexels Photo)...

Associated Press

Ex-teacher sentenced to prison for making death threat against Arizona legislator

A former Tucson middle school teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 2 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to making a death threat against Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers.

2 days ago

FILE - Police officers stand outside a Target store as a group of people protest across the street,...

Associated Press

Pride becomes a minefield for big companies, but many continue their support

Many big companies, including Target and Bud Light's parent, are still backing Pride events in June despite the minefield that the monthlong celebration has become for some of them.

3 days ago

FILE - Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plays music on a phone as he arrives to spe...

Associated Press

Biden, looking to shore up Hispanic support, faces pressure to get 2024 outreach details right

Joe Biden vowed in 2020 to work “like the devil” to energize Hispanic voters, and flew to Florida seven weeks before Election Day to do just that.

3 days ago

Editorial members of the Austin American-Statesman's Austin NewsGuild picket along the Congress Ave...

Associated Press

Correction: US-Gannett Walkout story

Journalists at two dozen local newspapers across the U.S. walked off the job Monday to demand an end to painful cost-cutting measures and a change of leadership at Gannett, the country's biggest newspaper chain.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

Iran disperses crowd angry over building collapse killing 29