More than a thousand protesters have been arrested in Iran. Here are three of their stories.
TUNISI, Tunisia (AP) — The smell of tear gas was thick in the air Sunday as protesters took to the streets again.
The first-day gatherings were in commemoration of the first anniversary of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s maiden speech to the world. Protesters gathered for a mass demonstration in Tehran and called for the same change in Iran.
A report on the event by the New York Times said demonstrators shouted slogans against the Islamic system and “death to Rouhani.”
But many Iranians in public have been more cautious.
Iranian photographer Majid Alizadeh — whose pictures of the street protests are often used as propaganda — said the protests have been largely peaceful. He said in recent months, Iranian artists have been encouraged by the government to express themselves — and they have.
This weekend, however, “Iran will see even broader expressions of discontent.”
More than 1,000 people were arrested across Iran, said a statement on the state-run IRNA news agency.
Iran’s opposition leader Ali Larijani said he hopes the protests will bring in new and younger generations to participate in the country’s democracy.
“The government will not be able to resolve the issues,” he said.
But in a message to the protesters, Rouhani said, “We are with you.” He said his administration would not back off of his plans for reforms.
“We will continue to work with the people in this way.”
Rouhani has attempted to change Iranian society in several ways. The president said he would lift the ban on women’s face veils and allow the country’s first female astronaut to fly on a test flight last month.
Since taking office in 2014, Rouhani has also promised to ease Iran’s energy sanctions, ease business taxes, ease business regulations, and ease the banking system.
In a rare statement to his country’s people