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Iran: Protests in the second biggest city over high prices

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Thousands demonstrate in Mashhad saying Death to the Dictator
Thousands demonstrate in Mashhad saying Death to the Dictator
TEHRAN, The Daily Star, Dec. 28, 2017 - : Hundreds took to the streets of Iran's second city Mashhad and other towns Thursday to protest high prices and unemployment, media reported.
The protests were mostly directed at President Hassan Rouhani's government, the Nazar media network reported.
Videos on Nazar's Telegram channel showed people in Mashhad, an important religious center in the northeast of Iran, chanting "Death to Rouhani".
But they also showed chants of "Death to the dictator" and "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran", a reference to anger in some circles that the government is focusing on the wider region rather than improving conditions at home.
The Mashhad governor said a number of people were arrested for "trying to damage public property".
Nazar also reported smaller protests in Yazd in southern Iran, Shahroud in the north and Kashmar in the northeast.
Videos appearing to show protests in Neyshabour, near Mashhad, were also shared on social media.
A message calling for "No to high prices" protests was circulated recently on Telegram.
The promise of rebuilding the economy, which is shattered by years of sanctions and maladministration, has been the central plank of Rouhani's government since he first won power in 2013, and helped him win a second term in May.
The economy is still struggling from lack of investment, with unemployment officially at 12 percent and likely much higher in real terms, according to analysts.

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