Iran restricts internet access again as fresh protests anticipated

Iran restricts internet access again as fresh protests anticipated
Demonstrations swept across Iran last month and were met with a brutal security crackdown.
2 min read
26 December, 2019
A deadly crackdown on protests last month may have killed 1,500 people [AFP]
Iran has restricted internet access across multiple provinces ahead of fresh protests anticipated to take place on Thursday, perhaps signalling another bloody crackdown a month after hundreds of demonstrators were killed.

Mobile internet access to overseas sites was blocked by "security authorities" in the Alborz, Kurdestan, Zanjan and Fars provinces, an informed source at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry told the semi-official ILNA news agency on Wednesday.

"According to this source, it is possible that more provinces will be affected by the shutdown of mobile international connectivity," it said.

Speaking to Reuters, an official denied an order to block the internet. 

But internet censorship observatory NetBlocks said on Twitter: "Confirmed: Evidence of mobile internet disruption in parts of #Iran ...real-time network data show two distinct drops in connectivity this morning amid reports of regional outages; incident ongoing".

Mass protests erupted across the Islamic Republic last month, initially sparked by a sharp hike in gasoline prices. 

A total internet blackout plunged the country into darkness for more than a week as activists on the outside scrambled to piece together the full extend of the movement.

A bloody crackdown on the nationwide demonstrations killed more than 300 people, according to Amnesty International. 

That figure, though, could be as high as 1,500, several interior ministry officials told Reuters this month.

More demonstrations are expected to break out on Thursday this week. Social media posts and some relatives of those killed in last month's unrest have called for renewed protests and ceremonies to commemorate the scores of dead.

Earlier this week, authorities in Alborz province arrested the parents of a young man who was shot dead during the protests last month.

They were reportedly pressured to call of a demonstration scheduled to commemorate their son's death on Thursday.

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