Tehran hosts massive pro-establishment rally
Crowds of Tehran residents have amassed at the Iranian capital’s Enqelab (Revolution) Square to avow support for the country’s Islamic establishment, condemn the recent violent rioting that broke out under the guise of fuel price protests, and convey their demands to the authorities.
According to Press TV, the gathering dubbed Hamian-e Velayat (Supporters of the Leadership) kicked off Monday afternoon at the square, which has been named in honor of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and has ever since served as a rallying point on numerous similar occasions. People started moving towards the venue from the four predefined routes across the city.
Participants have been holding up placards and shouting slogans in support of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and expressing outrage at anarchist measures meant to inflict damage on public property during the riots.
Major General Hossein Salami, the Chief Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which played a crucial role in confronting the violence, is scheduled to address the event later in the day.
The government raised gasoline prices earlier this month to moderate the national consumption rate. The move prompted public protests in a number of cities that were taken advantage of by anarchists.
The riotous elements resorted to extensive violence, setting fire to, looting, or destroying various public facilities, including banks, gas stations, and department stores.
The violence also resulted in multiple fatalities among both civilians and security forces. There is no official confirmation on the exact number of casualties.
Shortly after the price hike was announced, however, Ayatollah Khamenei warned that the protests against the decision could be used by agitators, who were being provoked and equipped by the country’s enemies. The note of caution prompted sweeping pro-government rallies across the country.
The IRGC has reportedly rounded up around 100 ringleaders and masterminds of the violent attacks.
Last Friday, Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili said, among those elements, there were some tied to the anti-Iran and US-backed terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), royalists as well as separatists, who were nabbed in the country’s border provinces, and members of organized groups trained towards staging acts of sabotage.
According to the spokesperson, the arrestees included those serving foreign interests, organized elements, and hooligans with multiple criminal records, who had amassed firearms, knives and incendiary materials to foment unrest.