Iranian activists online have called for protests across the country on Friday after initial protests broke out in southwest Iran on Thursday with demonstrators demanding the overthrow of the regime.
Anti-government protests broke out in the southwestern city of Behbahan in Khuzestan province on Thursday, according to videos shared on social media.
Protesters attacked Iran’s clerical rulers, chanting “we don’t want a clerical regime” and “clerics must get lost.”
Watch: Protesters in #Iran’s southwestern city of #Behbahan in oil-rich Khuzestan province chant "not Gaza, not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran," as demonstrations slowly spread to other cities.#IranProtestshttps://t.co/f19il498t0 pic.twitter.com/bC2402OiOV— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 16, 2020
The protesters also expressed their disapproval of Iran’s foreign policies, chanting “not Gaza, not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran” in reference to Tehran’s support for Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
One video from Behbahan showed security forces firing tear gas to disperse protesters. A man is heard saying “death to [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei” in the same video.
Iranian activists on social media have called for more protests on Friday. “We will stay on the streets until victory is won,” one poster shared on social media read.
Watch: Protesters in #Iran’s southwestern city of #Behbahan chant “we don’t want a clerical regime.” Witnesses in Behbahan say there have been several arrests in the city, which is in the country's oil-rich Khuzestan province.#IranProtestshttps://t.co/f19il498t0 pic.twitter.com/OYGla0yd10— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 17, 2020
Iranian authorities imposed total and partial disruptions to the Internet in Khuzestan province, where Behbahan is located, cybersecurity NGO NetBlocks said on Thursday.
During the November 2019 protests, Iran almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country for days.
Protests broke out across Iran in November 2019 after the government introduced gasoline rationing and price hikes. Thousands were arrested and about 1,500 Iranians were killed by security forces, according to a Reuters report.
This round of protests follows and is motivated by a viral Twitter campaign Iranians had launched on Tuesday against the Iranian judiciary’s decision to uphold the death sentences of three protesters who were arrested and sentenced to death following the protests in November 2019.
Iranians in and out of Iran used a Persian-language hashtag that read “do not execute” which became a global trending topic with over four million tweets.