Report on Current Nationwide Protests: Hundreds Arrested; Dozens Killed and Injured

During the last two weeks, triggered by food price hikes, nationwide protests erupted in more than 31 cities across 10 provinces. HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, has recorded 53 demonstrations so far. 

According to HRANA, on Friday, May 6, 2022, following the government’s decision to cut subsidies on essential food items such as dairy products, flour, cooking oil, chicken, and eggs leading to soaring prices, the call for rallying against soaring prices went viral on social media. In the following days, several protests broke out in Khuzestan Province and soon swept through numerous cities across the country.

Prior to these protests, a series of protests and gatherings of teachers, labor workers and the retirees who had lost their pensions due to the government’s risky financial decisions had been sweeping across the country leading to dozens being arrested.

The new rounds of protests sparked initially in Susangerd City and other neighboring cities in Khuzestan Province. In the following days, at least 30 Arab-speaking citizens were arrested by security forces.

Soon after, the protests spread to other cities and provinces. The videos received from citizen journalists indicate that the protestors chanted slogans against inflation as well as the Iranian regime leaders, including President Ebrahim Raeisi and Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

The map below shows the locations where the protests were.

As the map shows, the protests took place in the following cities: Izeh, Susangerd, Hamidieh, Ahvaz, Mahshahr, Masjed Soleiman, Shadegan, Jarahi Town Mahshahr, Dorud, Andimeshk, Dezful, Shahrekord, Junaqan, Fashafouyeh, Yasuj, Ardabil, Farsan, Khorramabad, Dehdasht, Borujerd, Suq, Yazd, Golpayegan, Cholicheh, Rasht, Neyshabur, Surshjan, Hafshejan, Babaheydar, Karevan Town and Pordanjan.

In total, 53 protests have been recorded. Moreover, 45 times, the attempts to start a protest were foiled due to the heavy presence of police and security forces in the streets. 

The map below shows the locations of 53 protests and the time periods.

During these protests, at least on 22 occasions in 14 cities, the police and security forces used tear gas, warning shots, pellet guns and in some cases heavy weapons against the protestors. In nine cities, tear gas and in 14 cities warning shots were used to scatter the crowds. In eight cities, security forces fired straight toward the crowds. Reportedly, security forces have used pellet guns, Kalashnikov assault rifles and paintball guns to disperse the protestors.

The map below shows the places where crackdowns and unrestrained shootings have been reported.

Since the beginning of the protests on Friday, May 6, the government disrupted the internet in several areas in Ahvaz in an attempt to prevent the protests. In the days that followed, Internet disruption was also reported in at least 10 cities.

In addition to intentional Internet disruption, the press was banned from covering the protests.

According to the reports obtained from local sources, at least 449 individuals were arrested during the protests.

So far, six people have been confirmed dead. These people have been identified as Pishali Ghalebi Hajivand (Dezful), Jamshid Mokhtari Junaqani (Junaqan), Omid Soltani (Andimeshk), Hamid Ghasempour (Farsan City), Saadat Hadipour (Hafshejan), and Behrooz Eslami (Babaheydar). HRANA can only confirm the reports on the death of the first two individuals mentioned above.

From all videos of protests which are circulating on social media, HRANA has verified the authenticity of 30 video reports which compilation you can watch below:

 

Azerbaijani Turk Activists Ayoub Shiri and Davoud Shiri Arrested in Tabriz

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, security forces arrested Azerbaijani Turk activists Ayoub Shiri and Davoud Shiri and transferred them to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Thursday, May 19, 2022, Azerbaijani Turk activists Ayoub and Davoud Shiri were arrested by security forces.

According to an informed source, one of the individuals was arrested while he was coming from a mourning ceremony and the other at his workplace.

The reasons for these arrests and the whereabouts of the individuals are still unknown.

Ayoub and Davoud Shiri have faced other arrests and convictions on prior occasions. On August 23, 2021, they were released from Tabriz Prison after serving their sentences. To be released, however, they had to be bailed out with 100 million tomans for the new legal case opened against them while they were jailed. For this new case, on June 26, 2021, they were indicted on the charges of “creating illegal groups in order to disturb national security.”

Mahyar Taghikhani Imprisoned for Asking Question from Religious Authority

Reporter Mahyar Taghikhani was sent to prison for sentencing. He had been previously sentenced to six months imprisonment and prohibited from any activities on Instagram for asking a question from an Imam of Friday Prayers.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Khabar Online, Mahyar Taghikhani, a reporter and resident of Karaj, was sent to prison to serve his six years imprisonment.

Documentary Filmmaker Javad Mogooye wrote on his personal page on Instagram: “Six months ago, the son of the head of the city council was seen on vacation with a state-owned car at the disposal of the city council of Karaj. The Imam of Friday Prayers criticized the father and it was reported on national TV as well. Everybody appreciated the Imam of Friday Prayers for that. A few days later, on a live Instagram, Mahyar Taghikhani, while praising the Imam’s objection, asked him if he would still take that position in case his own daughter did that.”

Reportedly, after a few days, the Imam filed a complaint against Taghikhani. In the trial, he was sentenced to six months in prison and prohibited from any activities on Instagram for one year.

Keyvan Samimi Arrested and Transferred to Semnan Prison

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Keyvan Samimi, the editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was arrested and sent to Semnan Prison after he went to the Judgement Enforcement Unit of Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, the editor of Iran Farda Magazine Keyvan Samimi was arrested and transferred to Semnan Prison.

Mostafa Nili, Samimi’s lawyer, broke the news on social media: “Today, after office hours, Mr. Samini was called from the Judgement Enforcement Unit Moghaddas and ordered that he should appear there to receive the coroner report. However, upon appearing and receiving the coroner’s report, he was arrested and was transferred to Semnan Prison.”
This new order and arrest stand at odds with a previous order issued considering Samimi’s age and health conditions grounded on Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On May 1, 2019, Samimi attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labor Day before Iran’s Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest as well as dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated documents and Samimi’s computer. On June 17, 2019, he was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Samimi to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal but was reduced to two years in a retrial.

Samimi previously served six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the outcome of the disputed 2009 presidential election, participating in the protests, and writing articles critical of the government.

Protests Continue in Golpayegan and Several other Cities

On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, protests against soaring food prices continued in several cities, including Golpayegan in Isfahan Province. Many cities witnessed heavy police and security forces’ presence and internet disruptions.

Video footages obtained by HRANA News Agency show that in Golpayegan, people were rallying in the streets and chanting slogans against the regime. Reportedly, in Junaqan City, in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, the government has almost completely shut down the internet.

Following a new wave of price hikes recently in Iran, protests erupted in several cities across the country. In most cases, protests turned violent by the police and security forces who used tear gas, warning shots, and pellet guns to scatter the crowds.

 

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Journalist Hossein Roointan Sentenced to Ten Years Imprisonment 

The Court of Appeals of Bushehr changed the initial sentence against Hossein Roointan from 20 to 10 years imprisonment. Initially, he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Dashtestan. Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the five years prison sentence is the maximum punishment enforceable for him.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, journalist and political activist Hossein Roointan was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

According to this verdict, Mr. Roointan has been sentenced to one year on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”, five years for “blasphemy against the imams and the prophet’s family”, two years for “offensive statements against the former and current Supreme Leader of Iran” and two years for “spreading lies and disturbing public opinion”.  From the above counts, the punishment of five years for blasphemy will be enforceable for him.

In the trial, running online campaigns and calling for illegal gatherings were presented as evidence for the charges.

On October 17, 2017, the Ministry of Intelligence agents arrested Mr. Roointan in Dashtestan. After one month, he was released on the bail amount of 200 million tomans.

Hossein Roointan, age 58, a resident of Dashtestan, had previously faced arrests and convictions due to his civil activities.

Researcher and Sociologist Saeed Madani Arrested

Writer, sociologist and former political prisoner Saeed Madani was arrested and imprisoned.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mehr News Agency, sociologist and former political prisoner Saeed Madani was arrested allegedly for “suspicious communications with outside of Iran and threat to national security”.

As a writer and sociologist, Saeed Madani has published research papers about social issues such as poverty and inequality, child abuse, violence against women, prostitution, and social welfare to name a few.

Mr Madani has faced several arrests and convictions and other social restrictions for his civil and educational activities. In the latest case, on December 28, 2021, while Madani was leaving Iran for a one-year fellowship at Yale University, he was stopped at the airport and his passport was confiscated.  Two days earlier, after four hours of interrogation by the intelligence officials, he had been told that he is not banned from leaving the country.

Protests Spread to at least 20 Cities in Iran 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, in recent days, triggered by soaring food prices, protests sparked in at least 20 cities in Iran. Protests took place in Dezful, Shahrekord, Andimeshk, Izeh, Junaqan, Khorramabad, Fashafouyeh, Farsan, Borujerd, Dehdasht, Dorud, Ardabil, Neyshabur, Suq, Rasht, Ahvaz, Yazd, Shadegan, Susangerd, and Yasuj. On Sunday, May 15, 2022, despite the tightening of security measures, the protest continued in several cities.

From the outset, the regime disrupted internet services in several cities in an attempt to prevent the protests.

On Friday, May 6, 2022, following the call on social media for rallying against soaring bread prices, in some cities in Khuzestan Province, the Iranian regime tightened security measures on the streets and disrupted internet and phone services to disrupt protests. Nonetheless, the day after, protests broke out in various cities of Khuzestan Province and beyond. Since then, the protests have continued in more than 20 cities. In most cases, protests turned violent by the police and security forces who used tear gas, warning shots, and pellet guns to scatter the crowds.

During the unrest, dozens of people were arrested. HRANA has obtained the identity of 20 of the individuals who were arrested in Ahvaz, 13 in Susangerd, 7 in Suq, and five in Shawr.

The regime forces have killed at least two protestors during the unrest, of which, one death has been confirmed by the city of Shahrekord’s representative in Iran’s Majles (parliament).

At Least Dozens of Teachers Arrested During Nationwide Protests

On Thursday, May 13, 2022, during the teachers’ protests in various cities across the country, several dozens of protestors were arrested. In Yasuj City, security forces arrested more than 20 protestors.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Thursday, May 13, 2022, more than 20 teachers were arrested during the protests in Yasuj.

In the protest, some of the individuals who were arrested were identified as Yaghoub Zare, Rahim Zare, Hajir Hojjati, Khadigeh Mobaraki, Behnam Asef-Jah, Kourush Jalil, Saeed Taheri, Soraya Aghai, Sasan Zarghampour. Moreover, Masoumeh Dehghan, Masoud Farhikhteh, Jaleh Roohzad and Lotfollah Jamshid in Tehran, Masoud Nikkhakh in Mariwan, and Siamak Chehrazi in Ahvaz were arrested.

On Thursday, in response to the call of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Union, both retired and working teachers in dozens of cities held protests in front of the Ministry of Education in several cities and across from Iran’s Parliament in Tehran. The protestors chanted slogans in support of the detained teachers.

According to reports obtained by HRANA, many individuals other than teachers had also joined the protests. The government has tightened security measures around the country’s main streets to prevent such protests.

Workers’ Rights Activist Reyhaneh Ansari Arrested in Tehran

On Thursday, May 13, 2022, workers’ rights activist Reyhaneh Ansari was arrested and transferred to an unidentified location. The security forces searched her house and confiscated some of her personal belongings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, security forces arrested workers’ rights activist Reyhaneh Ansari at her home.

The reasons for the arrest, the entity responsible for the arrest and her whereabouts are still unknown.

Reyhaneh Ansari has been arrested on previous occasions for her civil activities.