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Iran Stages Pro-Government Rallies After Days of Unrest

Iran’s state-run English-language broadcaster, Press TV, carried Wednesday’s pro-government rallies live on Wednesday, proclaiming that they were intended to “protest the violence that has taken place over the last few nights in cities.”

The anti-government demonstrations have surprised Iran’s establishment, which has been slow to respond. Organizing mass rallies with exhortations and various inducements is a favorite tactic, a tried-and-true method to bolster the state’s legitimacy.

Anti-government demonstrations flared in several cities on Wednesday, videos posted on social media seemed to show. In Khomeynishahr, where a 13-year-old boy was killed on Monday, protesters set fire to a seminary; demonstrations were also reported in Shiraz, Kazerun, Lenjan and Rasht.

In the six days since the protests broke out, demonstrators have appeared in more than 80 cities, human rights advocates say, but Tehran has by and large been an exception and anti-government protesters have been frustrated by the lack of a large response there.

“I wanted to protest on Tuesday, and while opposition channels said people had gathered, I arrived at Vali-e Asr Square, and there was no one,” said Farhad, 33, a cybersecurity expert, who asked that his surname not be mentioned for safety reasons. “There were lots of police, however.”

Source: NYT > World

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