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More Protests Challenge Iran's Government

More Protests Challenge Iran's Government

Saturday, 30 December, 2017 - 12:15
Photo circulated on social media shows protesters at Tehran University

Protests sparked by anger over Iran’s ailing economy on Saturday roiled major cities for the third day, prompting the government to warn against what it called “illegal gatherings.” 

The economic protests began Thursday, sparked by social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies.

Thousands have gone into the streets of several cities in Iran, beginning first in Mashhad, the country's second-largest city. Demonstrators also have criticized Iran's government and the regime’s involvement in regional crises during the protests, with social media videos showing clashes between protesters and police.

Protests broke out on Saturday in cities including Tehran, Shahr-e Kord and Kermanshah, where a video showed dozens of protesters booing after police announced on a loudspeaker that any gathering would be illegal.

By Saturday afternoon, students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University. Riot police tried to forcefully disperse protesters at the gates of the university while some roads had been blocked off.

The students repeated a popular chant of "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran" -- an expression of anger over claims the government is focusing more on regional issues than problems at home.

During the protests across Iran, people have also been chanting "Death to the dictator" - in an apparent reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei - and "Free political prisoners.”

The protests compelled Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli to issue a statement. 

"We urge all those who receive these calls to protest not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens," he said on Saturday.

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