Ignoring a heavy presence of police and security forces, hundreds of people in the city of Kazeroon continued their protest assembly on April 20.
Located just over 1,000 kilometers (roughly 640 miles) south of Tehran, Kazeroon has recently been the scene of protests against plans to change the city’s boundaries.
The protesters invaded the city’s Friday Prayers venue, or mosalla, and chanted angry slogans against the city’s MP as well as the state-run radio and TV organization, which has provided no coverage of the protests.
While Iran has long insisted Friday Prayers are its “last political and religious trench” for defending the Islamic Revolution, the people of Kazeroon followed in the footsteps of protesting farmers in Isfahan and assembled at their city’s mosalla.
After protest assemblies in front of governorates that yielded little results, demonstrators in Iran have started protesting at Friday Prayers venues, where a religious representative of the Islamic establishment delivers sermons.
The four-decade-old slogan of the Islamic Republic is “Death to America,” to which the enraged people of Kazeroon responded by chanting, “Our enemy’s right here; they lie and say it’s America!”
Based on reports and footage received by Radio Farda, the people in Kazaroon chanted slogans against MP Hossein Rezazadeh. “We take refuge in God from the treacherous MP,” and “We will slay whoever commits treason,” they chanted, along with describing state-run radio and TV as “our source of shame.”
Rezazadeh recently tabled a motion in the parliament that would separate two counties, Chinarshaheejan and Qa’emeyyeh, from Kazeroon, creating a new city named Koohchinar.
According to local media, Qa’emeyyeh is Rezazadeh’s birthplace and he has personal motives in supporting the motion, which requires government endorsement.
A local website cited Rezazadeh as saying, “I am after what the people of the county [Qa’emeyyeh] have demanded and, whether some like or dislike it, will follow up the case.”
However, the protesters -- who have the unprecedented support of Kazeroon’s Friday Prayer leader -- have vowed to block the move, which would slash a range of benefits and jobs the city has received for many years.
Kazeroon Friday Prayer Leader Mohammad Khorsand described the new boundary plan as dubious. “Sadly, the plan to divide Kazeroon suffers from a lack of transparency and does not take into account the opinion of experts,” he said, adding that the authorities are trying to sow seeds of discord in the city.
Videos circulated on social media on April 20 showed some of the largest public gatherings since the anti-regime demonstrations that broke out at the end of December and spread to more than 100 cities across Iran.