Local reports from Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province indicate that the internet was shut down or disrupted in most cities after protests erupted in the impoverished province.

Reports from Chabahar, Iranshahr, Saravan, Zahedan and Zabol show that the internet was disrupted or completely shutdown since Wednesday afternoon.

The protests erupted on February 22, when several of the Baluch locals who carry fuel across the border gathered outside the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) base to protest the blocking of the border, demanding that it be reopened. The IRGC, which has dug large holes on the border to prevent Baluch fuel carriers from crossing the border, responded with bullets. An eyewitness said “more than 50 people were killed and/or wounded” by the Guards.

Despite the internet blackout and heavy presence of security forces, protests have continued to erupt in several southeastern cities including Saravan, Iranshahr, and Zahedan, the province capital. The regime has dispatched reinforcements to protest hotspots to crackdown on the protesters.

According to amateur videos, protesters chanted “down with the dictator” and blocked the roads with burning tires in Iranshahr in Wednesday’s protests.

Local reports indicate that security forces opened fire on protesters on Tuesday and Wednesday. There are still no reports on exactly how many people were killed or injured by the regime. Local sources say dozens were killed on Monday, and the identity of two protesters including 13-year-old Hassan Mohammad Zehi, shot in the following protests has been confirmed.

Iranians all over the world have taken to Twitter to express their support for the protesters in Sistan and Baluchestan.

Twitter users posted images and videos of the clashes using the Farsi hashtags #Saravan is not alone, #Don’t kill the fuel carriers and #Saravan to protest the ongoing killing of the fuel carriers and unarmed civilians.

The Iranian regime is notorious for cutting off the internet in times of protest, to quash protests in silence and to prevent news of the protests from getting out.

In 2019, during the November 2019 nationwide protests, the Iranian regime implemented a 3-day internet blackout to suppress protesters and hide the scope of the crackdown. During the bloody November 2019 protests, 1,500 men, women and children were killed.

According to a report by Freedom House, the application of national sovereignty to cyberspace is a tactic used by autocratic governments. It has given them “free rein to crack down on human rights while ignoring objections from local civil society and the international community.”

The report said that Iran’s government cut off connections to hide the police’s violent response to mass protests in late 2019 adding that this was “an ultimate expression of contempt for freedoms of association and assembly, as well as for the right to access information.”

Source » irannewswire