Tehran Burns as Dozens Dead in 107 Cities amid Internet Blackout

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Tehran Burns as Dozens Dead in 107 Cities amid Internet Blackout

The protests broke out over the weekend after authorities abruptly announced a hike in petrol prices at midnight on Friday. The move saw the rollout of a rationing scheme which sent prices soaring by at least 50 percent, in part triggered to offset the effects of crippling US sanctions on the country’s economy. On Tuesday, Iran's government begun rushing out promised payments to 60 million citizens, a sign that the regime has been spooked by the scale of protests.

The protests broke out over the weekend after authorities abruptly announced a hike in petrol prices at midnight on Friday. The move saw the rollout of a rationing scheme which sent prices soaring by at least 50 percent, in part triggered to offset the effects of crippling US sanctions on the country’s economy. On Tuesday, Iran's government begun rushing out promised payments to 60 million citizens, a sign that the regime has been spooked by the scale of protests.

The plan was agreed by the Supreme Council of Economic Coordination, which is made up of President Hassan Rouhani, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed the move, saying it was based on expert opinion and should be supported.

The changes were said to be part of a scheme aimed at raising funds for Iran’s poorest, but many Iranians already struggling under rising inflation were quick to take to the streets in protests which soon turned violent.

According to reports from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on Monday, the uprisings are now in their third day and have spread to 107 cities.

Internet access in Iran has now been almost entirely cut off in attempts to conceal the “scope of the uprising and the scale of it brutality”, the NCRI reported.

Some 61 people have been reported dead in 10 cities, but the NCRI said it expects the actual number to be much higher.

Most of the 61 deaths were recorded when the protests broke out on November 16, but those who have been killed since have not been recorded.

Angry protestors in their thousands took to the streets, abandoning vehicles on motorways and blocking roads.

Buildings, including banks, petrol stations and stores were set alight as the protests took hold.

The Governor’s Office in Sharak Qods in suburbs of Tehran was attacked and set on fire.

“Scores” of police vehicles have been set on fire by protestors, the NCRI reported.

In Tehran’s Andimeshk township, protestors took advantage of darkness to attack the suppressive forces, forcing them to flee and blocking the streets.

According to the NCRI, Khamenei ordered the Revolutionary Guards and other suppressive forces to open fire on the demonstrations in different cities.

Reports have come in of armed forced shooting indiscriminately at protestors in attempts to disperse crowds and gain access to streets.

All active duty members of the Revolutionary Guard have been recalled from annual leave and dispatched to protest scenes.

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, called the killings “a manifest case of crime against humanity”.

Rajavi offered “condolences to the families of the proud martyrs of the uprising, noting that such unjust shedding of blood only adds to the resolve of the Iranian people to continue their rightful resistance to overthrow the mullahs’ regime.”

Khamenei labelled protesters taking violent action as “thugs” and accused counter-revolutionaries and foreign enemies of fuelling the unrest.

He ordered security forces to “implement their tasks”.

Rouhani said families would start receiving financial assistance on Monday from the funds raised by the move, also warning that “anarchy and rioting” will not be tolerated.

Source: Express