Iranian riot police prevent university students from joining other protesters in Tehran on Dec. 30, 2017. (AP)
The swift spread of Iran’s protests through socially conservative and traditionally apolitical small cities is perhaps their most notable feature. Participation in anti-government protests in such locations carries potentially high costs. Why did the protests garner such support in these areas?
The protests started with a small rally against Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in Mashhad, a conservative-leaning city. It was staged by conservative activists, who initially blamed Rouhani’s administration for high prices and poor economic performance. But this small demonstration rapidly attracted more people, spread to other cities, and finally, broadened its message to include the entire political establishment.
Protests against government economic policies are not unprecedented. In the first half of the 1990s, there were a series of riots over economic and administrative issues in the peripheral areas of big cities, during which at least eight people, including six members of the security forces, were killed. Later, the government executed four protesters. Nevertheless, the geographical distribution, radical slogans and endurance of the current protests make it different from those of the 1990s.
To get a more concrete sense of the actual scope and …read more
Via:: Monkey Cage