Iranwire – Demonstrations continued across Iran on Saturday, May 14. Local sources have identified two more men shot dead by security forces on the streets: Behrooz Eslami, reportedly a father-of-two in Baba Heydar, Charmahal and Bakhtiari province, and a man named Saadat Hadipour in Hafshejan.
The number of people confirmed to have been killed since protests began now stands at four, including Ali Ghalebi Hajivand in Dezful, Amid Nouri (or Omid Soltani) in Andimeshk and Hamid Ghasempour in Farsan in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, but amid a targeted internet blackout, there are fears the true figure could be higher.
Another protester, identified only by their surname, Mortazavi, has reportedly been mortally injured and is in hospital, where security forces are preventing information about his condition from coming out.
Videos of Hafshejan in the province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari show the paramilitary Basij shooting at people after they attacked their base. In addition to Hafshejan, the cities of Farsan, Cholicheh, Baba Heydar and Pordanjan in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province saw protests on Saturday night, as did Borujerd in Lorestan and the Karevan neighborhood of Tehran. According to one tweet, a father of two by the name of Behrooz Eslami was killed in Baba Heydar.
In videos of Hafshejan, protesters are heard chanting “Death to high prices” and “Let go of Syria, do something for us”. Videos of central Tehran and the major thoroughfare Enghelab (“Revolution”) Avenue posted on Saturday show security forces amassing in the streets.
“Last night they set up a scary checkpoint at the entrance to Ahvaz,” a source on the ground told IranWire. “They’d set up huge floodlights that made it look like it was daytime. God knows what’s happening in Izeh. In Ahvaz there are no riot police – it’s only the Basijis here. They sent the riot police to other cities.”
There have again been official moves to dismiss the protests as riots by an unrepresentative few. Ahmad Avaei, the MP from Dezful, confirmed only the death of Amid Nouri/Omid Soltani and in the same breath, described the protesters as “margin-dwellers”.
The current protests started after the Raisi administration announced a hike in the set prices of many basic food items, including flour, cooking oil, eggs, cheese and chicken. So far most of the known demonstrations have taken place in western parts of Iran, where levels of deprivation are higher. But on Saturday street protests were also reported in the city of Neishabur in Razavi Khorasan.
Some videos of the protests also show security agents firing teargas and using batons to disperse protesters. In many videos that sound of shooting can be heard – at protesters, or into the air, it is impossible to tell. The crackdown has also extended to the media: the Ministry of intelligence has ordered managing editors of news outlets to avoid the terms “economic engineering”, “violent crackdown” and “sit-ins”, on pain of prosecution.