Iranian protesters block a road during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices, Isfahan, November 16, 2019 (AFP)
Iran’s regime is trying to prevent more protests on Thursday, deploying security forces and cutting off the Internet, according to activists.
Families and friends are planning 40th-day mourning ceremonies for some of the hundreds of demonstrators killed by security forces during last month’s protests over a Government rise of 50% to 200% in petrol prices.
Calls on social media have circulated with the hashtag “See You Thursday”. Handwritten leaflets are being distributed, in anticipation of blocks on the Internet.
Families have been told by Iranian authorities not to speak to the media. The parents, grandparents, and 11-year-cousin of Pooya Bakhtiari, shot in the security forces on November 16, were detained when they defied the order.
Activists said armed forces are out in several cities, including the capital Tehran. Internet connection problems have been reported since early Wednesday.
Netblocks confirmed mobile internet disruption from 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Confirmed: Evidence of mobile internet disruption in parts of #Iran beginning ~6:30 a.m. (03:00 UTC); real-time network data show two distinct drops in connectivity this morning amid reports of regional outages; incident ongoing 📉 #Internet4Iran
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) December 25, 2019
Citing an informed source, the Iranian Labor News Agency said security forces have ordered the shutdown of the Internet in provinces such as Alborz, Shiraz, Kordestan, and Zanjan. Social media users have also reported serious problems in Mazandaran and Mashad Provinces.
Shahnaz Akmali, whose son was killed amid mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential eleciton, said last night that she is cancelling a memorial “due to the order of security and judicial authorities”.
On Tuesday Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers stopped Akmali’s daughter and took her phone, identification, and the number of her car plate. Akmali also has a one-year suspended sentence for “propaganda against the system”. The court that found her guilty in 2017 also deprived her of the right to leave the country, engage in political activity and even social media activity, which she has always defied.