200 arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran

Tehran, Jan 1: At least 200 people have been arrested during the rallies held in Tehran to protest the government’s economic policies, Iranian officials said.

The protesters were arrested on Saturday on charges of causing conflict and destroying property, Ali Asgar Naserbajt, a security officer, said on Sunday, Efe news reported.

Some of those arrested were later released, while others were remanded to custody, Naserbajt told the ILNA news agency.

Illegal rallies took place in Tehran and security forces were deployed to prevent harm to civilians, Naserbajt said.

Authorities have blocked access to certain social media networks following the protests that started on Thursday.

Messaging service Telegram and photo-sharing application Instagram stopped working in Iran after allegedly having been used to organise protests, and internet connections were bad.

Two people died on Saturday in the western province of Lorestan during the protests.

Deputy Interior Minister for Political Affairs Esmail Jabar Zada justified the use of “some tools” to curtail illegal rallies, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The measures are temporary and the government has no intention of blocking social media networks permanently, the deputy interior minister said.

Jabar Zada said authorities were conducting investigations to find out who was behind the protests.

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