Iran protests: Anti-government demonstrations spread as anger grows at rising prices and corruption

Mass protests without police permission are unusual in Iran and those taking part face arrest

Saturday 30 December 2017 01:20
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Videos on social media also show protestors shouting ‘death’ to President Hassan Rouhani
Videos on social media also show protestors shouting ‘death’ to President Hassan Rouhani

Demonstrations against Hassan Rouhani’s government in Iran have continued for a second day in several cities across the country.

Protests against rising prices have turned into the largest wave of demonstrations since nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009.

Police dispersed demonstrators in the western city of Kermanshah as protests spread to Tehran and several other cities a day after rallies in the northeast, the semi-official news agency Fars said.

The agency reported the protesters chanted anti-government slogans such as “never mind Palestine, think about us”, “death or freedom” and “political prisoners should be freed”.

There were around 300 protesters in Kermanshah and 50 in Tehran, it was reported.

A number had previously taken to the streets in the second-largest city of Mashhad on Thursday, over rising food prices and inflation. Clerics have also been the target of their ire.

The outbreak of unrest reflects growing discontent over rising prices and alleged corruption, as well as concern about the Islamic Republic’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq.

Unemployment stood at 12.4 per cent in this financial year, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, up 1.4 per cent from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.

Such mass protests without police permission are unusual in Iran and those taking part face arrest.

The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as President ignited eight months of street protests. Pro-reform rivals said the vote was rigged.

State television said annual nationwide rallies and events were scheduled for Saturday, to commemorate pro-government demonstrations held in 2009 to counter those protests by reformists.

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