Iran police disperses protesting crowd chanting slogans over financial hardships

TEHRAN: Iranian police mentioned Friday they forcefully dispersed a protest by a crowd chanting “norm-breaking” slogans within the southwest of the nation over financial hardships.

“Following a call, a small number of Behbahan city´s people gathered at 9 pm on Thursday to protest the economic situation,” Behbahan metropolis´s police chief Colonel Mohammad Azizi mentioned, quoted by state news company IRNA.

The police first tried to speak to the group “but not only did they not disperse but started shouting norm-breaking chants”, he mentioned, a time period often utilized by Iranian authorities to check with anti-system slogans.

Security forces broke up the protest with “firmness”, the police chief mentioned, including that “calm” was restored with out casualties or injury to properties.

Azizi didn’t specify if arrests had been made.

Unverified social media posts confirmed photographs and movies of dozens of individuals apparently gathered in a road of the town in Khuzestan province.

Netblocks, an internet site that displays shutdowns, mentioned web entry was restricted and disrupted for about three hours in Khuzestan across the time of the protest.

Khuzestan is a key oil-producing area that has typically complained of official neglect.

Bordering Iraq, it is likely one of the few areas in Iran to have a big Arab neighborhood.

The gathering in Behbahan got here days after Iran upheld dying sentences for 3 folks linked to lethal protests final November sparked by a hike in petrol costs.

On Thursday, a bunch of UN rights consultants referred to as on Iran to overturn the sentences.

“Today we join hundreds of thousands of Iranians on social media who condemned these death sentences,” mentioned the greater than a dozen unbiased UN consultants, on points like arbitrary executions, freedom of meeting and torture.

The demonstrations in November broke out after authorities greater than doubled gasoline costs in a single day, exacerbating financial hardships within the sanctions-hit nation.

The protests rocked a number of cities and turned violent earlier than spreading to not less than 100 city centres throughout Iran and being put down amid a near-total web blackout.

Calls have unfold on-line utilizing the hashtag “DontExecute” for a halt to executions within the nation.

Iran´s economic system has shrunk considerably since 2018, when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark nuclear settlement and reimposed punishing sanctions on the nation.

The coronavirus epidemic has exacerbated Iran´s financial woes with a short lived shutdown of the economic system and decreased exports, resulting in a pointy devaluation of its foreign money and rising inflation.

More than 180 new COVID deaths

Iran´s health ministry Friday raised the general COVID-19 toll to greater than 13,790 deaths, with 183 new fatalities, and over 269,400 confirmed instances.

Behbahan police chief Azizi urged Iranians “not to be influenced by the system´s enemies” aiming “to agitate the people in the current sensitive situation”.

Iran´s Revolutionary Guards introduced in separate statements that they arrested various “agitators” and in addition broke up a “terrorist group” on Thursday.

Those arrested in Mashhad metropolis had been “connected to anti-revolutionary groups” and had made requires road protests.

In the town of Shiraz, members of the People´s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), an exiled group which Tehran considers a “terrorist cult”, had been detained stopping a “subversive operation”, the Guards mentioned.

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