HRW – Since May 6, the Iranian authorities have imposed a near-total shutdown of mobile and home broadband data in some cities in Khuzestan Province, amid reported street protests against a potential hike in the price of bread, Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported. According to HRANA, authorities have arrested at least 10 people in connection with the protests in the cities of Susangerd, Hamidieh, and Ahvaz.
During the past weeks, rising flour prices have stoked concerns about the price of bread. On May 9, in a live speech on national television, President Ebrahim Raisi announced plans to ration bread. According to the Emtedad new agency, the recent protests started in the cities of Susangerd, Izeh, and Shadegan on May 6, the day that the internet disruptions began.
Since December 2018, Iran has reportedly shut down the internet at least eight times in direct response to protests, including during the November 2019 protests that were violently repressed and during July 2021 protests against a water shortage in Khuzestan Province. Iranians rely on messaging apps and social media platforms to share information and opinions in the face of serious restrictions on their freedom to assemble and associate with one another.