Internet access in Iran disrupted amid protests


Staff member
Internet access in Iran disrupted amid protests
Iranian police disperse protesters in southwestern Iran who were demonstrating over state of economy.
Elad Benari, Canada , 18/07/20
Protest over economic hardship in Behbahan, Iran.

Iranian police on Friday dispersed protesters in southwestern Iran who were demonstrating over the Islamic Republic's anemic economy amid a US sanctions campaign, The Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, internet access to the wider region was disrupted as demonstrators shared videos of the rally. Internet-access advocacy group reported the disruption affecting Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province late Thursday. The outage coincided with videos being published online of protesters gathering in the city of Behbahan, located some 570 kilometers (355 miles) southwest of the capital, Tehran.

Those videos showed demonstrators chanting slogans heard at other protests in Iran over the last year, including: “Don't be afraid, we are all together.” Others targeted Iran's foreign policy, shouting: “No Gaza, no Lebanon, I will die for Iran.” One video verified by The Associated Press shows a crowd of dozens of people in a square in Behbahan, shouting: “An Iranian will die, but will never accept humiliation.” Behbahan's police chief, Col. Mohammad Azizi, later was quoted by an Iranian news website as confirming a protest took place beginning at 9:00 p.m. Thursday. He said police “firmly dispersed” the demonstrators, who rallied over the economy. He said there were no injuries.

Iran has previously blocked internet access during the November protests against the rising fuel prices in the country. Amnesty International reported at least 300 people were killed in that unrest, many shot dead by security forces. Eyewitness accounts and videos said security forces responded to the November protests by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26.