World protests for freedom in Iran continue

At the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo by Imtiaz Popat

Protests started in Iran before noon on Saturday after activists earlier in the week called for fresh demonstrations against the government.

By early afternoon, demonstrations in Tehran and several other cities were noisy and large, in parallel with protests in many universities.

Demonstrations were taking place during the day in Esfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Rasht, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Kerman, Hamedan, and other cities around the world.

By evening, there were reports and videos of unrest in several districts of the capital Tehran, but due to government disruption of Internet access it is hard to get a full picture of the situation in all cities.

Saturday’s protests are an indication of a new strategy by activists in Iran. Instead of sporadic demonstrations every day, which is easier to control for the government, weekly protests appear to be more effective, showing government’s inability to suppress protesters when crowds are larger and appear simultaneously in many cities and locations.

Street protests had become less frequent and more limited since October 2, prompting senior clerics and officials supporting the regime to claim that the uprising had been crushed. However, it was clear that civil disobedience and smaller protests were continuing amid continuing negative news about teenage protesters having been killed by security forces in September.

Haphazard government attempts to explain away the deaths as accidents or suicides were dismissed by a public extremely distrustful of the authorities who have severely restricted access to the Internet.

In the meantime, Western pressure is increasing on the Islamic Republic to respect international norms and the human and civil rights of its citizens.

While the United States imposed sanction on some officials responsible for cracking down on dissent, Canada on Friday imposed sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard that are the backbone of Tehran’s repressive machinery.

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