Iran to crack down on protests during fire festival

…for many Iranians, this prehistoric Persian event goes far beyond being just a cultural celebration. Especially for the young, it provides an opportunity to vent frustrations at the government.

Ever since the revolution of 1979, the Islamic republic has stood firm in opposing popular festivals, including those from Iran‘s pre-Islamic period, seeing them as superstitious, illogical and anti-Islamic.

The restrictions on social and cultural events were eased slightly under reformist President Khatami – but since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, the crackdown has grown stronger than ever, with many being arrested and hospitalised.

In the last few years, Chaharshanbe Suri has been used as an excuse for people to pour onto the streets en masse and voice their opinions on issues ranging from the dire economic situation to social freedom.


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