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Rising petrol prices fuel protests in Iran

AP, AFP/Tehran
Filed on November 16, 2019 | Last updated on November 16, 2019 at 10.54 pm
Rising, petrol prices, protests, Iran, demonstrations, Sirjan
PEOPLE POWER: Iranian motorists protest against increased petrol price on a highway in Tehran on Saturday. - Reuters

Online videos showed peaceful protesters blocking traffic on Tehran's Imam Ali Highway on Saturday.

Protesters angered by Iran raising subsidised fuel prices blocked traffic in several cities and clashed with police on Saturday, the day after an attempted attack on a regional oil depot that saw police and demonstrators exchange gunfire.

"One person was killed in Sirjan but we are investigating whether he was killed by the security forces who were trying to bring back calm to the city," Isna quoted local official Mohammad Mahmoudabadi as saying. He said several people were wounded when masked armed men infiltrated the protests in Sirjan and clashed with security forces. "Security forces were not allowed to shoot at people. The situation is calm in the city now," he said.

The demonstrations, though not as widespread as the economic protests that shook the country nearly two years ago, put new pressure on the government of President Hassan Rouhani.

Online videos showed peaceful protesters blocking traffic on Tehran's Imam Ali Highway on Saturday, the first day of Iran's working week, calling for police to join them as the season's first snow fell. A large crowd in the city of Kermanshah demonstrated and later drew teargas fire from police, a video showed.  Others reportedly clashed in Tabriz, another major Iranian city.

Violence broke out Friday night in Sirjan, some 800km southeast of Tehran. The state-run Irna news agency said "protesters tried to set fire to the oil depot, but they were stopped by police". It did not elaborate, but online videos circulating Iran purported to show fire at the depot as sirens wailed in the background. Another showed a large crowd shouting: "Rouhani, shame on you! Leave the country alone!"

 


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