Protesters arrested in Iran after rally against price hikes

A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran's weak economy swept into Tehran. | AP

"But towards the end, baton-wielding police attacked the crowd from both sides of the street and arrested some people".

A Reuters report said videos on social media showed demonstrators in Mashhad in northwest Iran chanting "Death to (President Hassan) Rouhani" and "Death to the Dictator".

People came out in cities across the country, chanting "the youth are unemployed, the clerics are in limousines".

In step with Mashhad, people protested against high prices and unbearable living conditions in the cities of Neyshabour and Kashmar (also in Razavi Khorassan Province, northeastern Iran), Birjand (in south Khorassan Province, eastern Iran), Shahrud (in the northeastern province of Semnan), Nowshahr (in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran) and Yazd (capital of Yazd Province in central Iran).

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted Mohammad Rahim Norouzian, the Mashhad governor, as saying there was an illegal "No To High Prices" gathering in the city.

Such mass protests without police permission are unusual in Iran and those taking part face arrest.

Separately on Friday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that around 300 protesters also gathered in the western city of Kermanshah to protest the price hikes, damaging some public property. Protesters were filmed shouting anti-government slogans such as "death to the dictator" and "death to Rouhani".

Falcons dump Bucs to stay in NFC South chase
Sweezy (lower leg), Adarius Glanton (leg injury), safety Justin Evans (ankle) and defensive end Robert Ayers (stinger). Last week's 20-17 win over the Saints also has them back in the thick of a three-team race for the NFC South title.

Protests took place in several other cities in response to calls on the Telegram messaging app for demonstrations against high prices.

According to CHRI's investigations, social media users discussed the protests using the Farsi-language hashtag, "Mashhad". It said many marchers who wanted to raise economic demands left the rallies after demonstrators shouted political slogans.

Tehran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's civil war, Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah group.

Out of a total Iranian population of 80 million, some 3.2 million are jobless, according to official data.

The economy has risen out of recession and inflation has been reduced, but businesses are still struggling from a lack of investment and the official unemployment rate is 12.4%, up 1.4% from the previous year.

President Rouhani promised that the deal he signed with world powers in 2015, which saw Iran limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of global sanctions, would boost economic growth.

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