Iranians protest over living conditions, shout “Death to High Prices”

Protests in the city of Mashhad over unemployment, poverty, and rising prices , December 28, screen grab
Protests in the city of Mashhad over unemployment, poverty, and rising prices , December 28, screen grab

Protests erupted in several Iranian cities on December 28, 2017, as citizens peacefully spoke out against the rising cost of living. In Mashhad, Iran’s second most populated city, police confronted the demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas.

An eyewitness in Neishabour told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that the protests against the perception of rising inflation were organized via announcements shared on social media.

“I don’t know who the main organizer was but the announcements started appearing last night [December 27] on Telegram network channels related to Neishabour,” said the eyewitness, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“In the beginning, the protests were peaceful and the slogans were about high prices and economic corruption,” added the source. “But towards the end, baton-wielding police attacked the crowd from both sides of the street and arrested some people.”

“They chased us but we were able to get away,” added the source.
Iran’s inflation rate was recorded at 9.9 percent in December 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was as high as 35 percent during President Hassan Rouhani’s first year in office in 2013.

Images sent to CHRI and postings on social media show people in other cities in Khorasan Razavi Province, including Neishabour and Kashmar, shouting slogans including, “death to high prices,” “death to the dictator,” and “Death to Rouhani.”

Some demonstrators also called for an end to Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad, as well as for the state to stop using public funds to support Shi’ites in Lebanon and Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.

The protests in Mashhad, which were attended by hundreds according to footage posted on social media and sent to CHRI, ended after about two hours after police intervened and arrested several participants.

Mashhad’s Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian condemned the protesters for what he referred to as their “illegal” demonstration while praising the police for “showing extreme restraint” and arresting people “who wanted to destroy public property.”

According to Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution, “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”

According to CHRI’s investigations, social media users discussed the protests using the Farsi-language hashtag, “Mashhad.” Iranians based out of Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Fars and Isfahan provinces tweeted more than 11,000 times since the protests began on December 27.

Reformist member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted his support for the people: “The people’s protests in Mashhad and other cities are in fact an outcry against the confusion and shortcomings that exist in the top layers of the country. Instead of extinguishing the protests and blaming them on political factions, we should listen to the people and find solutions.”

Prior to the latest unrest, there had been small but almost daily protests in numerous cities by people who have lost their life savings due to private banks and investment companies going bankrupt.

On December 27, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticized the “baseless statistics, lies, and slander … against the achievements of the Islamic Revolution” and blamed the state’s foreign “enemies.”

“Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people in the country are making accusations against officials and organizations in an effort to justify the unbelievable lies spread by the enemies,” he said.

“Those in charge of the country, past and present, cannot play the role of the opposition and speak against the state,” he added.

CFHRI

  • Arzna

    Finally the Iranians woke up!!!
    I am surprised it took so long considering the miserable economic conditions they had to put up with for so long .
    Is this the start of The Iranian Spring ?

    • Rascal

      Basij and IRGC will crack down hard on protests to prevent its growth. These type of protests are not rare but because of the media vacuum in Iran more news is greatly suppressed and manipulated.
      What is needed is more sanctions to turn the screws on the mullahs harder.

  • Danny Farah

    These protesters will be raped in Ivan Prison. Their standard of living going down because all the money going to all the Hezbollah militias across the middle east.

    • Rascal

      That and Iran has a very high rate of corruption at the highest levels of government. Even on a good day Iran’s economy is very poor. If they invested more into infrastructure and job creation than funding Hezb type groups they would still have an economic uphill battle against high corruption. The whole government is inefficient due to the whole religious dictatorship BS. The only real answer to all the problems with Iran from economy to terrorism is a complete removal of mullahs from power.

  • Rascal

    This is also the main reason why Iran has to employ foreign mercs (Hezb) to fight their holy war, regular Iranians are more interested in basic survival in what Khamenei calls the “Resistance Economy” , which means most money will not be spent in Iran, more so maintaining its many terrorist groups within Hamas, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Not so much in Yemen anymore by the looks of it the Houthi are losing badly.

  • Niemals

    Iran protests traced to past economic mishaps, however on Press TV site you can’t detect that the https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a14d5e55dc510424019fa5f2298c1fef1e283a4e9ac0e8eeef26498bcceaa422.jpg authorities in Iran have warned of crackdowns on spreading protests over economic problems!
    Police have dispersed 50 people in Tehran after 52 arrests a day earlier in Mashhad, a city hit by bank failures. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2a0c36689ff78800bdf4c2d6a5884c334b61ca510c390d55679c9c8424d42a2c.jpg Rouhani faces pressure to fix economy
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d86efdb462ba4e54f924180cc54ede9adace7a8563664381f6e43956360886a.jpg Video footage from Thursday’s protest in Mashhad showed demonstrators chanting “Death to Rouhani,” Leave Syria, think about us” and “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran.”

    Egg prices in Iran had doubled since last week, due to the government’s culling of millions of chickens diagnosed with avian flu, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Out of the 80-million population, some 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, equating to an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran.

    ipj/jil (AFP, Reuters, AP)

  • Niemals

    Now Iranian government sends out in force Rouhani supporters on the street.
    Since Thursday, there have been demonstrations against the government in several Iranian cities. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/617e13e73483b787a58298f9c71303ecb87f3b57788e4a644e70c7db45f143fa.jpg Supporters of head of state Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran
    Now the followers of the mullah regime are also taking to the streets.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/97e9d1e6fd34798054c1f263b026bfbea1b5e01d80a876e51ccc474349800a36.jpg Protest against the Islamic dress code in Tehran
    djo/sti (afp, dpa, rtr)

    • Rascal

      I recommend they keep these ones covered. Their nuns are going into battle against the poverty stricken middle class. If they can manage to keep motivated they can counter-protest, and the government will start the beatings, murder, and arrests. Protesters really need the Artesh (army) behind them.