Iranians find creative new ways to protest

By Rudaw 1/5/2018 – After a ban on Telegram and a crackdown on recent protests, Iranians have sought new methods to express their anger towards the government.  Iranians have begun writing notes on currency – putting protest notes in everybody’s pockets, according to images that have gone viral on social media a day after the country banned popular messaging platform Telegram.

“Free Iran,” “Unity, Brotherhood, Freedom,” “Strikes in Kurdistan,” and “Down with dictatorship” were among most repeated lines scrawled on the bills.

The strikes referred to have been ongoing in the Kurdish provinces for over two weeks. Shopkeepers and business owners have closed their doors to protest a government decision to close semi-official borders, putting kolbars out of work and increasing prices in the markets.

In addition to the strike, they have laid empty tablecloths in the streets, symbolizing their inability to feed their families with slogans like “No bread dad” and “I am a kolbars.”
In the city of Baneh on the weekend, strikers stretched their empty tablecloths out in front of the governor’s office, along with tents, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network.

In Tehran, a group of women defied a ban on them entering sports stadiums by donning fake beards and taking in a football match. “When bad laws ban women from entering stadiums, women will not wait for the law 2 be changed. They will break the bad law,” tweeted an Iranian activist Masih Alinejad.

Photos of the women apparently wearing wigs and fake beards circulated online. The photos were taken in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium where a match took place between two local football clubs, according to Reuters.

Melody Safavi, an Iranian women’s rights activist and singer, told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from New York, “I am very proud of them and impressed that they can be so fearless, because it is a huge risk that they do that.”

Iranian authorities arrested six people participating in a Labour Day protest in Tehran on Tuesday, according to ILNA news agency. In his address to the nation for the occasion, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the importance of labourers as a backbone of the country.
“A country’s workforce is its biggest capital. You make up Iran’s workforce: the laborers, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, and all those working in different sectors. The country’s workforce has such great value; and the working class is part of this great value and capital,” he said.