Vastavam web: Thousands of government supporters staged rallies in Iran for a fourth day on Saturday in a backlash against widespread anti-government protests that the clerical establishment has blamed on the country’s enemies.Saturday’s show of support took place a day after Iran’s foreign minister said a United Nations Security Council meeting called by the United States to discuss the protests had proved a “blunder” by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
More than a week of unrest has seen 22 people die and more than 1,000 arrested, according to Iranian officials, in the biggest anti-government protests for nearly a decade.Unrest spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns as thousands of young and working-class Iranians voiced anger at graft, unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor.On Saturday, videos on social media showed a heavy police presence in cities, including Khorramabad in southwestern Iran where on Wednesday evening social media posts showed protesters throwing stones at riot police.
The protests have drawn largely young people and workers as well as members of the educated middle-class that formed the backbone of a pro-reform revolt almost a decade ago.“Those with a criminal record, or those charged with sabotage such as setting fire to motorcycles or damaging public buildings have been referred to judicial authorities,” governor Alireza Rashidian told the ISNA news agency.
A police spokesman said most of those arrested were “duped” into joining the unrest and had been freed on bail, the state news agency IRNA reported. “But, the leaders of the unrest are held by the judiciary in prison.”