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Unrest Spreads To Shiraz, Mashhad; Slogans Focus On Dictatorship

Iran - Karaj : Protests 2th August

A new round of anti-government demonstrations has been taking place in major Iranian cities for the third day on August 2, with demonstrators chanting slogans against the dictatorship, clerical rule, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Demonstrators also called for the release of political prisoners.

Reports from Iran on August 2 said protests in Isfahan continued for the third day, while the unrest had spread to other major cities including Shiraz, Mashhad, and Karaj as well as others.

Videos published on social media showed police attempting to disperse demonstrations with tear gas, pepper gas, paintball guns, and water cannons.

Protests raged in Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Karaj, Sari, Bandar Abbas, and Ahvaz as social media activists broadcast the events live.

In Mashhad, where hard-liners rule, an IRGC general reportedly went among protesters and shifted their slogans from anti-regime chants to slogans against high prices and the Rouhani administration's inefficiency.

Reports say police had clashed with demonstrators in Shapoor district of Isfahan. In Shahinshahr, near Isfahan, women were demonstrating against economic hardships and compulsory hijab, and called on Iranians in other cities to support them.

In Karaj, a densely populated city near Tehran, demonstrators gathered around the notorious Rajaishahr Prison, where political prisoners are kept next to criminals, chanting slogans about the people's will to open the gates of the prison and free political prisoners.

Later reports said police had dispersed demonstrators and were guarding the prison.

Elsewhere in Karaj, demonstrators attacked the IRGC-linked militia dispatched to suppress demonstrations and set fire to a militiaman's motorbike.

Reports from Tehran said anti-riot police had been deployed to major squares such as Tajrish and Vanak.

Iranian analyst Mehdi Mahdavi Azad told Radio Farda that anti-government demonstrations have been going on since last December when the first wave of unrest erupted.

Mahdavi Azad said that in this new round of unrest, the slogans are more sharply focused on the regime, although there is also discontent about the ongoing economic crisis markedly manifested in rising prices and dramatic turbulence in the rates of exchange.

Although initial slogans chanted by demonstrators reflected their unhappiness about discrimination and economic hardship, during the past three days slogans have been more political and focused on the dictatorship, clerical rule, and the role of Khamenei, Mahdavi Azad said.

He said one of the reasons for this could be the fact that the middle class is joining the underprivileged in the demonstrations as the decline in the value of the rial has made more people poor.

According to Mahdavi Azad, in this round of demonstrations, social media has empowered the demonstrators, who have been using social networking tools more effectively to mobilize other groups to take to the streets.

However, the government is still in denial of the root causes of the discontent and blames foreign governments, while continuing its usual suppression.