Anti-government protests spread across Iran, as 52 arrested
Anti-government protests spread across Iran, as 52 arrested
Protests in a street of Tehran on Saturday. Videos shared on social media showed thousands marching in towns of Iran
30 December, 2017, 03:40
Iranians protesting the country's strained economy gathered in Tehran and another major city on Friday, for the second day of spontaneous, unsanctioned demonstrations placing pressure on President Hassan Rouhani's government.
The governor of Mashhad, Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, said that "the demonstration was illegal but the police dealt with people with tolerance".
Similarly, Iran's revolutionary court head, Hossein Heidari was quoted by Fars as saying: "We consider a protest to be the people's right but if some people want to abuse these emotions and ride this wave, we won't wait and will confront them".
Such mass protests without police permission are unusual in Iran and those taking part face arrest.
"Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos", the statement continued.
Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators yelling, "The people are begging, the clerics act like God".
Fars news agency reported that police arrested 52 people after December 28 rallies in Mashhad. The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election as president ignited eight months of street protests.
Some demonstrators also called for an end to Iran's involvement in the Syrian civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad, as well as for the state to stop using public funds to support Shi'ites in Lebanon and Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.
Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested that hard-line conservative opponents of the president might have triggered the protests.
Several provinces this week reported the price of eggs had risen by up to 50 percent, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.
Jahangiri also said, to resolve economic problems, the Iranian government needs to establish global communications with the world and to take advantage of its current domestic capacities. He added that social movements that start on the streets don't always remain under the control of those that started them. They also played a significant role in keeping the protests going.
"The hands of political groups could be seen in (Thursday's) gathering in Mashhad", said Leilaz.
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