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Iran internet shut down as regime fears expansion of protests triggered by fuel price hike

Iran blocks access to internet in the aftermath of protests triggered by fuel price hikes- November 16, 2019
Iran blocks access to internet in the aftermath of protests triggered by fuel price hikes- November 16, 2019

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 18, 2019—On Monday, internet access across Iran reached an all-time low as protests triggered by gas price hikes continue to rage in more than 100 cities across the country. On Friday, the regime declared that the price of gasoline would increase by 50 percent on subsidized fuel and 300 percent on all other purchases.

Immediately after the decision was declared, thousands of people poured into the streets to protests the fuel price hikes. The protests quickly spread to more than 100 cities and transformed into widespread anti-regime protests, calling for the ouster of the ruling mullahs and their leader, Ali Khamenei.

In many areas, protesters burned down government buildings, banks and police stations, symbols of the corruption and suppression of the Iranian regime. Widespread efforts by security forces to suppress the protests and restore the regime’s control across the country provide futile and the protests continued late into Saturday night. Images and videos of protests were widely distributed across social media.

To prevent news of the protests from reaching the world and open the way for a massive crackdown, the regime cut off internet access on Saturday night. The internet blockade continued throughout Sunday as well.

On Sunday night, NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet access across the world declared that the Iranian regime had imposed a “near-total internet shutdown” after protests erupted over fuel prices. According to the organization’s website, national connectivity reached 5 percent of ordinary levels. “The ongoing disruption constitutes a severe violation of the basic rights and liberties of Iranians,” NetBlocks declared on its Twitter account.

According to NetBlocks, every day of internet blackout in Iran will cause nearly $370 million in damages to the country.

 

 

The shutdown of internet in Iran drew condemnation across the world. Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany condemned the shutdown of internet access in Iran and called on large tech companies to support the people of Iran and help restore their access.

 

 

Despite the internet shutdown, protests continued across Sunday. According to reports obtained by the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization or Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran, in some areas, the protest were even more intense than the previous day and spread to even more cities. Videos obtained from inside Iran show protesters confronting security forces and routing riot police in several areas.

The internet blockade comes as the regime prepares itself for a brutal crackdown on the protests. On Sunday, Khamenei called the protesters “thugs” and “hooligans” and ordered his suppressive forces to violently crack down on demonstrations. However, despite the regime’s efforts to spread fear and stifle the voices of the Iranian people, protests continue to expand across the country.

On Monday morning, protesters returned to the streets for the fourth consecutive day. In some cities, the people have seized control of several districts.

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