Iran: Fifth Day of Anti-regime Protests Triggered by High Food Prices
On Sunday, May 15, 2022, people in several Iranian cities took to the streets for the fifth consecutive day of anti-regime protests. These protests are ongoing despite intense security measures and limited internet connectivity.
Protests began over the sudden spike in the price of food and other basic goods, but have quickly turned into anti-regime protests with calls for regime change.
In Shahrekord, Charmahal and Bakhtiari province, protesters were shouting “Death to [Ebrahim] Raisi,” the regime’s president, and “Death to [Ali] Khamenei,” the regime’s supreme leader.
In Sureshjan, Charmahal and Bakhtiari province, anti-riot forces were dispatched to disperse the crowd and arrest protesters. The people stood their ground and chanted, “Don’t be afraid, we are together.
Defiant youths also gathered in the streets in the city of Nahavand, western Iran, chanting anti-regime slogans, despite the heavy presence of anti-riot units.
In recent days, the people have shown great resistance to the regime’s repressive forces. In some cities, protesters responded to the crackdown by attacking and occupying the local headquarters of the Basij, the paramilitary arm of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that is tasked with suppressing protests.
Reports show that the regime has increased security presence in different cities to prevent rallies from taking shape.
In Tehran, anti-riot forces have been deployed in different locations. In Malayer, security forces have set up check points in different locations. In Izeh, security forces in armored vehicles are patrolling the city.
Security forces have killed several protesters in recent days. Many others have been injured and arrested. One video from Saturday night shows a man fatally wounded after being shot by security forces.
There are also various reports of casualties in cities where protests have been ongoing for several days, especially in Charmahal and Bakhtiari province.
The regime is taking extreme measures to prevent news of the protests from spreading. In addition to cutting off internet access, the government has been giving instructions to different branches and institutions in order to help censor news of the protests.
According to various reports, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has instructed the media to avoid reporting the protests and even using terms such as “economic surgery,” “violent response,” and “rallies.”
This is while regime vice president Mohammad Mokhber and other regime officials had used the term “economic surgery” to refer to the regime’s decision to remove subsidies and change the monetary policy.
At the same time, regime officials are denying protests and dismissing them as propaganda by the Iranian opposition.
Mohammad Bagher Mohammadi Laini, Khamenei’s representative in Mazandaran province, northern Iran voiced the regime’s concerns about the spread of news regarding the recent protests.
“If you receive negative messages and video clips in your smartphones, it is from the enemy, from the [People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, PMOI/MEK]. Don’t read it! And if you do read it, don’t share it! Allow it to wind down… A number of rioters inside and [dissidents] outside the country want to take advantage of this opportunity and repeat the [November] 2019 and 2009 protests in the streets and alleys,” he explained.
Originally published at http://freedomstarblog.wordpress.com on May 16, 2022.