Protests Incited by Gas Price Hike Grip Iran

In Islamshahr, a small working-class city, crowds attacked a billboard of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Posts on social media showed that they had set it ablaze.

While insulting the supreme leader is an offense that can carry the death penalty, people did not seem to care.

“We are fed up,” they chanted.

In cities including Behshahr, Shiraz, Tehran and Karaj, protests turned violent when people attacked government buildings, set banks on fire, ripped the national flag and kicked and burned revolutionary monuments.

The police and demonstrators exchanged gunfire on Friday in Sirjan, a city some 500 miles southeast of Tehran, an Interior Ministry official there told state television.

The state-run IRNA news agency said “protesters tried to set fire to the oil depot,” The Associated Press reported. It quoted the official, Mohammad Mahmoudabadi, as saying, “They insisted on reaching the oil depot and creating crises.”

Around Iran, anti-riot police officers and security forces battled crowds on motorcycles and on foot, videos on social media and local news outlets showed. These accounts showed that in Karaj, a young man was shot in the head, while in Shiraz, security forces shot a young man, who collapsed to the ground, bleeding.

“They are firing on the people,” shouted the narrator of the video from Shiraz, his hands shaking as he documented the scene.

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