USA condemns arrest of anti-government protesters in Iran
30 December, 2017, 03:37 | Author: Jason Torres
The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in a region where an quake killed over 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds rallied in Iran's second largest city Mashhad to protest at high prices and shout anti-government slogans.
The Iranian news agency Fars quoted a local lawmaker from the city of Neyshabour Friday as tracing the "major crisis" in adjacent Mashhad to "illegal financial institutions" that mushroomed under Ahmadinejad.
Iranian news agencies said small protests Friday in Tehran and the western natural disaster -shaken city of Kermanshah were dispersed by police, with apparently scattered arrests. "But towards the end, baton-wielding police attacked the crowd from both sides of the street and arrested some people".
The demonstrations are the most serious and widespread expression of public discontent in Iran since protests in 2009 that followed a disputed election, correspondents say.
Fars reported that protesters in Kermanshah chanted anti-government slogans such as "never mind Palestine, think about us", "death or freedom" and "political prisoners should be freed".
Political rallies are rare in Iran, but demonstrations are often held over economic issues such as layoffs, nonpayment of salaries, and price hikes. "Instead of extinguishing the protests and blaming them on political factions, we should listen to the people and find solutions".
Iran police fire tear gas to dispel protesters in Tehran on Saturday
The security deputy of Tehran's governor, Mohsen Hamedani, said that fewer than 50 people gathered at a public square in Tehran, and that majority left after a police warning but a few chose to stay on.
Videos posted on social media showed some protesters in Mashhad chanting slogans including "Death to the dictator" and "Death to Rohani", with police using water cannons to push back the crowds.
There is also anger at Iran's interventions overseas.
Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested that hardline opponents of the president may have started 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.
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