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Iran building collapse death toll reaches 31

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – Iranian riot police clashed with angry protesters in the southwestern city of Abadan, according to online videos, and state-run media reported that the death toll from a building collapse there reached 31 yesterday.

The official IRNA news agency said two more bodies were pulled from the rubble of an under-construction tower that collapsed a week ago.

Rescue workers were continuing to clear the debris yesterday and search for more victims under the toppled part of the Metropol Building. Out of 37 injured people, two remain hospitalied.

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.

It also drew angry protesters to the streets of Abadan over the past week, leading to eruptions of unrest and clashes with riot police on several occasions.

The semi-official Fars news agency said mourners gathered at the site of the collapse on Sunday night when a group of protesters attacked the state television’s camera crew, forcing police to disperse people to restore order and security.

Tasnim, another semi-official news agency, reported that more bodies are believed to be under the 10-storey building.

Foreign-based Farsi-language television channels carried footage from Abadan that showed young people clashing with police in the city and throwing rocks at them. As over the past few days, it wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was injured or if police made any arrests.

Ruins of a tower at the under-construction 10-storey Metropol building remains after it collapsed in Abadan, Iran. PHOTO: AP