The Khuzestan protests over water shortages entered their 12th consecutive day on Monday, with demonstrations spreading to other cities and becoming more centered on regime change, despite the officials’ attempt to squash protests through military might and an internet blackout.
Protests were reported in Alborz, Kermanshah, Tehran, and more but because of the internet blockade, it’s taking longer for photos and videos of the demonstrations or the clashes between protesters and security forces to be released to the wider world.
In Tehran’s Jomhuri Street, protesters held a massive rally calling for regime change and for supreme leader Ali Khamenei to resign, chanting “Khamenei, have shame and let go of the state”. They also criticized the mullahs for their terrorism and warmongering.
While, in Kermanshah, several demonstrations have been held in support of the Khuzestan protests, even blocking a road in the Shahrak-e Mahdiyeh district, so security forces opened fire. This was also true in Karaj, where people gather after sunset to chant “From Karaj to Khuzestan, unity, unity”, “Iranians will rather die than live in disgrace”, and “Down with Khamenei”.
The state-run media have warned that these protests could well spur another nationwide protest like that of November 2019 because the people’s anger has only been suppressed over the past two years because of violence by the authorities and pandemic precautions.
The Hamdeli Daily wrote: “Some people enter these protests with political motives… and are leading the protests toward political goals and slogans against the political establishment.”
While the Fars News Agency wrote: “In the Jomhuri Street market after the electricity was cut off, merchants rallied and protested. Several people tried to sway the protests toward political goals.”
Even officials like MP Mohammad Taghi Naqdali began to speak about the water crisis protests and how this could lead to major protests.
He said: “In Isfahan, there is a serious crisis and fire under the ashes… See the situation of farmers and ranchers in front of Isfahan Governor’s Office since yesterday. Today, Khuzestan, despite having several billion or more than 10 billion cubic meters of water behind the dams, is experiencing the crisis that we are witnessing.”
He explained that 5.5 million Isfahan residents are facing a crisis even though there are 300 million cubic meters of water behind the Zayandehrud dam.
He said: “It has been two months since two crises like the Khuzestan’s crisis have come to pass in Isfahan. Today, there is still a crisis.”