Al-Monitor – A massive security presence and an internet blackout continue across Iran five days after the government introduced controversial cuts to gasoline subsidies. The austerity plan fueled worries about inflation and higher gasoline prices, and triggered nationwide protests that soon turned into large anti-government demonstrations.
The rallies have seen intense confrontations between security forces and Iranians, leaving behind government buildings ablaze and massive damage to public property. Numerous reports state that security forces have fired live ammunition, leading to an unspecified number of deaths among protesters. The government denies responsibility for any deaths, saying several members of its forces have been killed in the scuffles.
As of Nov. 19, according to Iranian authorities, the protests had largely subsided and normal life had resumed in most of the 100 cities where protests took place. “Thanks to the blessing of the remarks by the supreme leader, the efforts by security forces and people’s vigilance, calm has returned to the country and many of the rioters have been identified,” declared judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili. He urged everyone to “stand out of the queues of the violence-seeking individuals.”
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