Several people were reportedly hurt in a northwestern city of Iran after hundreds of ethnic Kurdish protesters clashed with police following the suspicious death of a local woman, according to news reports and witnesses.
A witness told Al Jazeera that the demonstrators faced off with police on Thursday along the highway in front of the burnt out Tara Hotel in Mahabad, 680km west of the Iranian capital Tehran.
It was unclear who was responsible for the fire, but according to Rudaw, a Kurdish news website, the protest followed the death of Farinaz Khosrawani, 25, who fell from the hotel, where she reportedly worked.
Angry protesters were reportedly demanding the quick prosecution of the unidentified suspect, who is in police custody.
Several photos provided by the witness to Al Jazeera showed a building on fire, while another showed images of dozens of people throwing rocks at police in riot gear.
Other photos posted on social media also showed protesters with injuries.
According to news reports, the Kurdish community accused a security guard in Tara Hotel, where Khosrawani worked, of attempting to rape her, and said she jumped out of the hotel to escape, dying instantly.
The police chief in Mahabad has denied that this took place, and that the security guard has any connection to Iranian security agencies.
The police have detained the security guard and launched an investigation into the incident.
Many in the Kurdish community there protested what they consider lax handling of the case by the authorities.
Mahabad Mayor Jaafar Katani was quoted by the Rudaw report urging demonstrators to wait for the result of the investigation.
Mahabad is a town with a population of 280,000 people, majority of them of Kurdish background.
|The mayor of Mahabad has urged demonstrators to wait for the result of the investigation [Al Jazeera]
Source: Al Jazeera