“The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader (Khamenei).”
Iran has seen six days of protests filled with people sick of the oppressive regime and demanding change.
Not to be outdone, the regime staged pro-government rallies while Iran’s Revolutionary Guards declared the uprisings have ended.
At first the regime seemed to brush aside the protests, blaming them on foreign agents and infiltrators. That seemed to change as the protests grew and the regime arranged pro-government protests to counter the others. From Reuters:
State television broadcast live footage of rallies in cities across the country, where marchers waved Iranian flags and portraits of Khamenei, Iran’s paramount leader since 1989.
Pro-government marchers chanted, “The blood in our veins is a gift to our leader (Khamenei),” and, “We will not leave our leader alone.” They accused the United States, Israel and Britain of inciting protests, shouting, “The seditionist rioters should be executed!”
In the Shi‘ite holy city of Qom, pro-government demonstrators chanted “death to American mercenaries”.
— Potkin Azarmehr (@potkazar) January 3, 2018
Pro-government counter protestors (aka state employees) forced to rally in solidarity with the regime. Anticipated theme: “Death to USA. Death to Israel. Long Live Iran’s Regime.” | #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/J4D5unGSDx
— Samira Ghaderi (@Samira_Ghaderi) January 3, 2018
— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_) January 3, 2018
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 3, 2018
Attempts to End the Protests
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari sent his men to Isfahan, Lorestan, and Hamadan in order to end things. From CNN:
In comments to the semi-official Fars news agency, Mohammad Ali Jafari claimed that only 15,000 people had turned out at the height of the rallies and that the main “troublemakers” had since been arrested.
“Today, we can say it is the end of ‘sedition 1396’,” he said, using the year in the Iranian calendar.
“With the help of God, their defeat is definite,” Jafari said. He gave no evidence of how the movement had been defeated beyond the arrests and his comments are being taken as a warning against more rallies.
It’s hard to verify anything since the regime demanded that state media not cover the protests, which meant that info we received in the West came mostly from social media. That didn’t help much, though, since officials did all they could to block the internet.
Los Angeles Times correspondent Ramin Mostaghim said fewer people protested in the last few days, “but they continued Tuesday night in at least 10 cities.” The authorities arrested 450 people and 21 died in the protests.
Officials even arrested a European citizen and claimed this person “had been trained by espionage organizations in Europe.”
This person allegedly “‘led rioters’ in the town of Borujerd,” according to Hamid Reza Bolhassani, a judicial official in Lorestan.
The peak of the protests saw people gathering in as many as 80 cities, but Tehran mostly remain silent. One person told The New York Times he wanted to protest in the capital, but only found a lot of police.
HorrificFootage: Run over people by car and Shooting them by gun. Welcome to the #Ahvaz in the southwest of #Iran
The 6th day of anti GOV protest, Wali Faqih dictatorship and mullahs corrupt regime.
— Ahmad Batebi (@radiojibi) January 3, 2018
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