Iran protests

Weekly protests persist in Iran’s southeast amid internet disruption

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Weekly protests against Iran’s clerical leaders continued in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan as thousands took to the streets on Friday, according to footage circulating on social media.

Videos posted on Twitter by Hal Vash, a group that monitors developments in the province, showed protesters in the provincial capital Zahedan shouting slogans against the country’s theocratic leaders, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Basij, a paramilitary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) often used in crackdowns on protests.


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Videos on Twitter also showed protesters marching near Zahedan’s Makki Grand Mosque and chanting in support of Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s most prominent Sunni cleric.

He has been openly critical of the regime since nationwide protests erupted in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died in police custody on September 16.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks reported a “significant disruption” to internet connectivity in Zahedan. “The incident follows an ongoing pattern of network blackouts targeting protests during Friday prayers,” it said on Twitter.

The protests sparked by Amini’s have largely subsided due to a deadly crackdown by authorities. However, they have continued in Sistan-Baluchistan, where they have been taking place weekly after Friday prayers.

Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan, is one of Iran’s poorest regions and is mostly populated by Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shia Iran. Human rights groups say they have faced discrimination and repression for decades.

“The clerics must get lost,” one video showed protesters chanting, referring to the country’s clerical leaders.

Amini died after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women. Her death triggered months of protests that quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

According to the human rights groups, hundreds were killed by security forces during the protests across Iran, with Sistan-Baluchistan having the highest number of fatalities.

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