Sudden Protest At Tehran Metro As Unrest Continues In Khuzestan
Social media users from Iran Tuesday morning reported a spontaneous anti-government protest by hundreds of commuters at a busy metro station in the west of the capital, Tehran, while protests continued for a fifth straight night in many cities in Khuzestan Province.
Videos posted on social media show the mask-wearing crowd chanting "Down with the Islamic Republic" and down with the institution of Supreme Leader.
Iranians in the past few years have increasingly come to blame Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the country’s multiplying problems and in past protests have chanted “Death to the dictator”.
Twitterati say the spontaneous protest and chanting started in one of the segregated metro cars for women at Sadeghiyeh metro station in a densely populated area in the west of the capital Tuesday morning and spread to the rest of the huge crowd waiting on the platform.
Officials have not commented on the Tehran metro incident yet.
The incident occurred due to the failure of the authorities to make proper announcement of change of train schedules in a lockdown in the capital which began Tuesday. According to Twitterati, the number of metro cars also has been reduced due to the lockdown. With fewer trains working at longer intervals, platforms have become overcrowded.
Tehran went on a six-day lockdown Tuesday due to a recent surge in Covid cases that according to the chairman of Tehran City Council, Mohsen Hashemi, is claiming more than 100 lives a day. All government offices have been closed for the duration of the lockdown and travelling to and from the capital have been highly restricted.
Since July 15, there have been protests in more than ten cities and towns in the oil-rich Khuzestan province against water shortage. There were fresh reports Monday night that people in Kouy-e Alavi and Shelangabad and several other districts of the province capital Ahvaz had joined in the protests that were in their fifth night. Locals blame the government for years of mismanagement and building too many unnecessary dams which prevent water from reaching urban water reservoirs and agricultural lands.
According to social media reports, special anti-riot police units and Revolutionary Guards were sent to the area. Videos posted on Twitter show hundreds of protesters in Ahvaz throwing stones at security forces. Gunshots can be heard in the background in some of the videos. Since Thursday at least two protesters have been shot dead in Khuzestan.
Other videos posted on Twitter on Monday also show a crowd chanting in Arabic in support of Khuzestani protesters at the shrine of Imam Reza in the holy city of Mashhad in eastern Iran on Sunday evening. Khuzestan has a large Arabic-speaking rural population that has taken the brunt of water shortages.