Iranian President Urges Protesters Not to Resort to Violence

Rallies Continue, Despite Attempts to Shut Down Social Media

Attempts by the Iranian government to shut down broad swathes of social media appear to have little effect, and crackdowns over the previous days have again failed to keep protesters off the streets, demanding change.

The protests began small, as economic protests about the government’s failure to come through on pledges of economic growth and more jobs. These grew and fairly quickly turned into hostility toward Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the violent crackdowns on demonstrators have only added to the size of the protests.

This has resulted in the largest anti-government protests in Iran since 2009, with protesters shouting “death to the dictator” and clashing with riot police. While not as large, there have also been reports of counter-protests at some universities, expressing support for the government.

Warnings from some officials that public demonstrations are now illegal have been greatly undercut by President Hassan Rouhani, a noted reformist, insisting that Iranians have every right to peacefully protest and have their grievances heard.

Rouhani’s calls for everyone to avoid violence have had limited success, but there were no reports of any further deaths on Sunday, suggesting that that killings that took place Saturday are not going to be the new normal in the face of unrest.

This may serve to ultimately calm the situation, as the growth of the protests seems to have been directly in response to efforts to stop the protests in previous days, and if the government makes clear that Rouhani’s comments on peaceful protests are not overruled by some other official, it may calm a lot of the political anger which erupted in the wake of the economic protests.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.