Clashes erupt in Iran as economic woes hurt
Protesters chant slogans at the main gate of the Old Grand Bazaar in Tehran on Monday.-AP
Dubai - Videos appeared to show police charging into the crowd.
Protesters angered by Iran's cratering economy confronted police in front of parliament on Monday, with security forces firing tear gas at them, according to online videos, the first such confrontation after similar demonstrations rocked the country at the start of the year.
The unplanned demonstration came a day after protests forced two major shopping centres for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran and after demonstrators earlier closed its Grand Bazaar.
It signalled widespread unease in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and restore sanctions on the country.
It wasn't immediately clear who led the protests. Iran's semi-official news agencies, Fars, Isna and Tasnim, described the protests at the Grand Bazaar as erupting after the Iranian rial dropped to 90,000 to the dollar on the country's black market, despite government attempts to control the currency rate.
Videos posted to social media showed protesters at the bazaar heckling shopkeepers who refused to close, shouting in Farsi: "Coward!"
A short time later, about 2km from the Grand Bazaar, videos shared by Iranians on social media appeared to show a crowd confronting police at parliament. The videos show tear gas in the air and protesters screaming, "They attacked us with tear gas!" Another man is heard shouting: "Come back!"
Other videos appeared to show police charging into the crowd.
State media in Iran did not immediately report the Grand Bazaar demonstration. Only Fars reported on the parliament protest, which it described only as shopkeepers asking lawmakers to "stop rising prices."
The head of Iran's Chamber of Guilds, Ali Fazeli, later was quoted by Tasnim as saying the situation at the bazaar is calm.