Iranian Protests Enters into 4th Day
IndraStra Global News Team
On December 28, 2017, Pro- and anti-government demonstrators took to the streets and gradually moved from the outer cities into the capital, Tehran, and Iran’s second-largest city, Mashhad.
The ongoing protests — the largest and most widespread since an uprising against the outcome of the 2009 presidential elections — have since attracted global attention, and footage of the action has been shared hundreds of thousands of time on social media. Demonstrators initially vented their anger over economic hardships and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the country New-year eve night after several days of anti-government protests that have rocked the nation.
“We are a free nation,” Rouhani said in his pre-recorded speech on state broadcaster IRINN. “And according to the constitution and citizen rights, the people are free to express their criticism and even their protests,” he said.
Rouhani highlighted the fact that some of the economic difficulties people face today have their roots in earlier years and some other have sprung from recent times and added “the government and the public should work hand in hand and help each other. The people, however, are not merely critical of their economic conditions. Their protests are also against corruption and lack of clarity.”
He also stressed that constructive criticism is different from public vandalism and destruction of properties and said: “while we support criticism and recognize people’s right to stage demonstrations and voice their protests, we should avoid a situation when the followers of the revolution and the public become concerned about their security.”
Rouhani’s remarks came after the state-run media outlet IRIB reported that Iranian officials began blocking internet access across several cities in the country as mass protests erupted for the fourth day in a row. Temporary restrictions have been put on social media apps Instagram and Telegram, which have been used by Iranians to share news about the protests. An official, without being named, on Sunday said: “With a decision by the Supreme National Security Council, activities of Telegram and Instagram are temporarily limited.”
Among the telecoms company were Hamrahe Aval, the primary Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MTCI or MCI) as social media continues to play a pivotal role in documenting mass protests and a subsequent brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in the country.
Also, according to reports, many Iranian Kurds have joined other Iranians in the streets protesting against the regime. Kurds makeup around 10% of Iran’s population and are thought to number between 6 and 8 million people. They mostly live in Rojhelat, or East Kurdistan, including the provinces of Kermanshah, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan. Protests have taken place in Kermanshah, Sanandaj and on the border near Baneh.
The White House issued a statement on Sunday that the Iranian people’s “voices deserve to be heard.” The statement also said: “We encourage all parties to protect this fundamental right to peaceful expression and to avoid any actions that contribute to censorship”.