10 people dead overnight, Iran protests getting out of hand?
The situation in Iran seems to be getting out of hand as anti-government protests are sweeping across the country. Iran's state TV recently reported that at least 10 people were killed overnight in various locations across the country. The total death toll now stands at 12. The news comes after Tehran issued several warnings to the protesters. What's happening in Iran? We explain.
Where are the protests happening?
The protests first began in Mashhad, Iran's second-most-populous city. According to the BBC, the protests have since spread to 15 locations, including Tehran, Karaj, Bandar Abbas and Masshad. Protesters took to the streets to express their anger against high prices and President Rouhani's regime.
Why are people protesting?
The protests began over citizens anger against high prices and President Rouhani's regime. While they initially focused on the economic situation and corruption, it later turned political. Protesters reportedly raised slogans such as: "The people are begging, the clerics act like God." There are increased calls for protests on social media amid warnings against illegal gatherings by the government.
Iran bans Instagram, Telegram amid protests
Iran has moved to ban Instagram and Telegram following four days of anti-establishment protests which were reportedly organized through social media on January 1. The "temporary restrictions" have reportedly been imposed to "maintain tranquility." Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani has stated that citizens don't have the right to cause disorder. The protests have been dubbed the biggest expression of dissent that Iran has witnessed post-2009.
What's happening on the ground?
Protests reportedly continued strong overnight with demonstrations being reported from centres such as Kermanshah and Khorramabad in the west and the northern city of Zanjan. Iran's state TV reported that security forces put up a stiff defense against armed protesters who tried to take over police stations and military bases. Meanwhile, police reportedly employed tear gas and water canons against protesters in Tehran.
Iran to be ruthless with protesters?
Iran's powerful elite force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has warned the protesters stating that they will have to face the government's "iron fist" if the situation continues. Rouhani had earlier stated that Tehran will show no mercy to protesters who destroy public property and create unrest. Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-Larijani, the judiciary chief has also reportedly called for a crackdown on rioters and vandals.