December 29, 2017

MORE REFORM, FASTER:

Iran cities hit by anti-government protests (BBC, 12/29/17)

The protests spread to other cities in the north-east, and and some developed into broader anti-government demonstrations, calling for the release of political prisoners and an end to police beatings.

On Friday, despite warnings from authorities, the demonstrations spread further to some of the biggest cities in the country.

They represent the most serious and widespread expression of public discontent in Iran since mass protests in 2009 that followed a disputed election, correspondents say.

What are people complaining about?

What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political.

Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.

Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like "The people are begging, the clerics act like God". Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.

There is also anger at Iran's interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted "not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran", a reference to what protesters say is the administration's focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.

Other demonstrators chanted "leave Syria, think about us" in videos posted online. Iran is a key provider of military support to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The economic is the political.

Posted by at December 29, 2017 5:23 PM

  

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