Iranians use fireplace competition to revive anti-government protests


Anti-government protests broke out in a number of cities throughout Iran on Tuesday, spurred by an annual competition linked to the Persian new 12 months subsequent week.

Protesters used the event of Chaharshanbe Suri — a celebration with Zoroastrian roots that features leaping over a hearth — to take to the streets and chant anti-government slogans, in line with movies posted on-line.

The Washington Post couldn’t independently confirm the authenticity of the movies, which confirmed protests in Tehran, Rasht, Karaj, Gorgan, Arak and several other cities within the Kurdish area of western Iran.

Videos present proof of escalating crackdown on Iranian protests

One video confirmed a handful of girls burning their scarves on a bonfire in Tehran, whereas one other confirmed individuals throwing fireworks at a bunch of safety forces on bikes. In a separate video, a bunch additionally within the capital is burning an image of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, chanting, “freedom, freedom, freedom.”

Iran’s theocratic authorities has discouraged the celebration of Chaharshanbe Suri for years due to its pre-Islamic roots and likewise as a result of it offers individuals a chance to collect and criticize the federal government in public.

This 12 months, the Chaharshanbe Suri protests have explicit significance for the reason that Islamic Republic has for months confronted one in all its best challenges because it got here to energy in 1979.

There had been a relative lull in protests up to now couple of months after a harsh crackdown which led to the demise of greater than 500 individuals and the arrest of almost 20,000 as of late February, in line with the activist information company HRANA.

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Four protesters had been executed for allegedly participating in assaults towards safety forces.

“People are very eager to protest again yet they don’t want to do it on their own,” mentioned Hadi Ghaemi, government director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “These occasions definitely provide a collective signal that this is a moment where people won’t be alone if they’re protesting.”

The demonstrations began final September after Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly sporting clothes that violated the nation’s strict legal guidelines on conservative gown required for ladies in public. She later died in police custody.

A video posted on-line Tuesday confirmed individuals chanting “Death to Khamenei” in Saqqez, Amini’s hometown.

Last week, protests broke out in a number of cities due to outrage over the suspected gasoline poisoning of 1000’s of college ladies in latest months. The suspected poisonings began within the holy metropolis of Qom three months in the past however have since unfold to greater than 20 provinces, in line with CHRI.

Suspected poisonings at Iranian ladies’ colleges depart dozens hospitalized

The authorities has introduced a handful of arrests associated to the assaults with out figuring out a specific group that could be accountable. Activists and protesters say solely the authorities or a bunch backed by authorities might have carried out organized operations on such a scale.

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