The hashtag #TwitterBanKhamenei is quickly gaining traction as Iranians call on Twitter to ban all accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the platform, after the government almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country, following protests over an increase in fuel prices.
With the whole country seemingly offline, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tweeted on Sunday in support of the government’s decision to increase fuel prices.
We will be calling on Twitter to ban Khamenei. Please do it. #TwitterBanKhamenei— Maryam Nayeb Yazdi (@maryamnayebyazd) November 17, 2019
Khamenei’s online presence caused outrage amongst Iranians who have been unable to get in touch with their friends and families in the country after the government shut off access to the internet.
In response, prominent Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad called on activists to call on Twitter to ban the accounts of Khamenei by using the hashtag #TwitterBanKhamenei “until internet access is restored” in Iran.
“I invite all activists to call on @Twitter to ban supreme leader of Islamic Republic @khamenei_ir until Internet access is restored. Without it we cannot monitor human rights violations. #TwitterBanKhamenei,” she wrote.
Cybersecurity NGO Netblocks confirmed in a report on Saturday that Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country.
Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent on Friday, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts. Anti-government protests have erupted in over 53 Iranian cities since the decision was announced.
Security forces have so far killed at least 29 citizens since the start of the protests on Friday.