Demonstrators attacked a town hall in the Iranian capital on Saturday as deadly protests spilled into a third night in spite of government warnings against any further "illegal gatherings" and moves to cut off the internet on mobiles.
Videos on social media appeared to show thousands marching through the western cities of Khorramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz. Videos filmed elsewhere show protesters setting fire to police vehicles amid reports of attacks on government buildings, the BBC reported.
Another video posted on social media showed two Iranian men in the western town of Dorud lying motionless on the ground, covered with blood and a voiceover saying they had been shot dead by police, Reuters said.
It said security forces fired on protesters and killed at least two. Other protesters in the same video were chanting: "I will kill whoever killed my brother!"
The authorities responded to the situation by cutting internet access to mobile phones, with the main networks interrupted at least in Tehran shortly before midnight, AFP reporters said.
MUST SEE: #Iran|ian police vehicle flees from a crowd of hundreds of people in #Arakmoments ago pic.twitter.com/CRiXmYTL5T— Babus Selam Haber (@BabusSelamHaber) December 30, 2017
A swirl of wild rumours, combined with travel restrictions and a near-total media blackout from official agencies made it difficult to confirm reports.
Several Iranian news agencies warned Telegram, the most popular social media service in the country, might soon be shut down after communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused one popular channel, Amadnews, of encouraging an "armed uprising".
Meanwhile, the conservative Mehr news agency posted videos of protesters attacking a town hall in central Tehran, overturning a police car and burning the Iranian flag.
There was chaos earlier around the capital's university as hundreds took to the streets, blocking traffic and shouting slogans against the government.
But the authorities could also count on a show of strength, with hundreds of counter-demonstrators seizing control of the university entrance, chanting "Death to the seditionists".
Iran May be Experiencing a World-Changing, Legitimate Resistance Movement While American Media Yawns
Protests began to break out across Iran Thursday, beginning in small cities with a few hundred protestors and eventually ending up in the capital city of Tehran. Not that you would know it by looking at American media outlets, who largely yawned and continued to cover fluffy, end-of-year feature stories even as it was reported that Iranian police had decided they could no longer arrest uncovered women, which some assumed was because too many had thrown off the hijab.
This is a brutal hateful unpopular theocratic regime. Some people — @CNN — might tell you Iranians like the regime. They might even make it a headline. They might write PRO-GOVERNMENT RALLY in all caps. But this is still a brutal hateful unpopular theocratic regime. #IranProtestshttps://t.co/LDIM9rWxsn
The BBC reported that the protests were varied but had a common theme: frustration with the current political regime in Iran.
What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political.
Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.
Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like “The people are begging, the clerics act like God”. Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.
There is also anger at Iran’s interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted “not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran”, a reference to what protesters say is the administration’s focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.
Other demonstrators chanted “leave Syria, think about us” in videos posted online. Iran is a key provider of military support to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
BuzzFeed News World correspondent Borzou Daragahi, who has covered Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad and Tehran, has been methodically covering the breaking news from the protest as they happen. His Twitter thread is updated regularly and not to be missed. It begins Thursday with the protest in Mashad and contains video of protests as well as on-the-ground analysis from those who know the players and the desires of the protestors.
‘Hundreds took to the streets of Iran's second largest city of Mashad on Thursday to protest over high prices, shouting slogans against the government.’ https://t.co/eEOU8ePR1T
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) December 28, 2017
The verdict is still out on whether this rash of discontent will hold and actually accomplish anything to benefit the suffering people of that Middle East nation. By Saturday, the Iranian regime had begun to crack down on “illegal” gatherings, although there does appear to be some agreement between Israel and the U.S. to begin mutually addressing Iran.
But the relative silence from American media on what looks to be a legitimate democratic human rights rally — especially when they couldn’t get enough of the Women’s March, the #MeToo scandals, and the anything having to so with the “Resist” movement — is louder than the shouts of the oppressed in Iran. And it’s shameful.
This is so odd. There is an enormous uprising of the common people in Iran against the government, and the mainstream media is just sitting there with its thumb up its Obama and mostly ignoring what’s going on.
I’m gonna try collect some of the more insightful tweets, videos, and images from the historic uprising.
They’re burning down images of Khameini:
Wow. Protesters burn down an Ali Khamenei banner. He is the highest political and religious leader in Iran & (Twelver) Shi‘a Islam. #IranianProtests #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/fZUacfRP6O— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 30, 2017
Anti riot police out in force in #Tehran. #Iran #IranProtests#تظاهرات_اعتراضی pic.twitter.com/qtj1A1kh53— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) December 30, 2017
I think that people don’t understand that although Iran is one of the world’s largest supporters of terrorism, many Iranians absolutely despise the government, but they’ve been too afraid to speak out. With the failing economy, they’re finally coming out in big numbers…
Reminder that Iran protesters face almost impossible odds. Cash-flush regime has all the guns & functionally endless bench of security forces: police, army, IRGC/Basij, and then if they all flip - which is only way protests cld succeed - Arab militias built w/ Iran deal windfall.— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) December 30, 2017
Important: In this thread, the Iranian Minister of Communication asks the CEO of Telegram, the most popular communication app in Iran, to shut down the channels on #Iranprotests. CEO @durov obliges. https://t.co/CzsWo2zORY
@Durov: A Telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest. NOW is the time to stop such encouragements via Telegram.— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) December 30, 2017
Iranians shouting: We don't want an Islamic Republic!#Iran #Islampic.twitter.com/qA2S1Resyl
PROTESTS SPREAD ACROSS IRAN: Regime Mobilizes Police, Anti-Riot Forces Beat Protesters, "Death to Dictator!" Chanting Continues
On Saturday the regime mobilized the police and sent out anti-riot forces to crush the protests.
#Update48– #Tehran, anti riot forces and equipments being transferred to places in which most protesters are.#IranProtests pic.twitter.com/BkyIuP5wRZ
This needs no explanation.
The regime is out in force.
The regime is out in force.
President Trump warned the regime late Friday night – “The World is Watching.”
#Update39 #Tehran people are starting. Security forces a few times tried to disperse them but they are gathering again.
Tehran is very Important.#BreakingNews: Students are chanting Death to dictator.#university_of_Tehran#IranProtests #RegimChange pic.twitter.com/QdT60fPFQt
In the streets of Tehran protesters are chanting “Death to the dictator!”
#Tehran: #Death to Dictator pic.twitter.com/8soKXn1XaT
Obama lackeys were wrong again.
A few weeks ago Iran’s foreign minister and the Ben Rhodes echo chamber began pushing the line that Trump’s threats to walk away from the nuke deal had united the people behind their regime.Then this week’s #Iranprotests utterly debunked it.— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) December 30, 2017
Whatever comes next, Iranians have already shattered one liberal myth: namely, that Trump has revived the regime’s popularity at home. https://t.co/oVIq2fQozs #IranProtest— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) December 30, 2017
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