Demonstration and strikes in Iran: protests flare up again

Thousands of people are once again taking to the streets in Iran. Factories and universities are on strike. France accuses Iran of kidnapping.

A protesting crowd

This video is said to show protests on Tuesday in front of Azad University in Khomeinishahr Photo: reuters

BERLIN taz/rtr/dpa | The commemoration of the national Protests in 2019 (“Bloody November”) gave renewed impetus to the insurgency in Iran. In dozens of cities, people gathered at universities, on the streets and bazaars and in front of train stations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Activists had called for three-day protests to commemorate, among other things, the people who were murdered in 2019. The Reuters news agency spoke of around 1,500 deaths at the time; other sources assume several hundred.

Protests had already taken place in around seventy cities on Tuesday. There were strikes in 60 cities and protests at at least 40 universities. Recent actions also extended to smaller towns and included Iran’s Kurdish areas as well as the capital Tehran and the north of the country.

Regime forces are said to have used violence against protesters in several places. According to activists, two demonstrators were shot dead in the Kurdish regions.

“Today we were out in droves again. Hope remains, even if people have withdrawn for a few days,” a contact in Tehran told the taz on Tuesday. “We can’t take to the streets every day because the state makes it almost impossible with its reprisals.”

When regime forces advanced in Tehran on Tuesday, a crowd immediately dispersed, only to promptly regroup elsewhere, the person reports. “The armed forces were overwhelmed”. She regretted that the demonstrators in Iran often didn’t have their mobile phones with them and that the internet was so slow that people on the street didn’t always know what was going on in other cities in the country.

closed shops

The protests flared up again on Tuesday morning, when the first pictures and videos of strikes and protests from the Kurdish areas spread. Footage also showed closed shops in Karaj and Tehran’s bazaar. There was also a strike in one Steelworks in Isfahan. in the Iron Bazaar of Tehran forces attacked the strikers on Wednesday.

The current slogans of the protesters refer to the current demonstrations as well as to the protests in November 2019. At that time, rising petrol prices were the been the trigger.

“Down with the dictatorship”, “In memory of Bloody November”, “Say it: freedom, freedom, freedom”, and “Woman, life, freedom” were some of the slogans this week. Many protesters now see a revolution in progress and refuse to speak of just protests.

In the Kurdish-majority city of Sanandaj, protesters gathered on Wednesday in front of the house of Fouad Mohamadiwho was killed during a protest on Tuesday.

At the University of Sanandaj, students presented the torture scene of Khodanoor Lajaei in a performative action on Tuesday. Lajaei was murdered on the so-called “Bloody Friday” at the end of September in the Iranian province of Balochistan. A picture of the man on whom he is tied up had been shared online. Since then, the scene has been re-enacted to commemorate the brutality of the state.

“Unacceptable hostage-taking”

Meanwhile, according to government reports on Wednesday, several French secret agents have been arrested. “People of other nationalities were arrested in the riots, some of which played a major role. There were elements of French intelligence and they are being treated according to the law,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said last week that a total of seven French nationals had been arrested. Iran’s increasing aggressiveness towards his country with an “unacceptable hostage situation,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

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