World, Middle East

Iranian policeman killed in clashes amid fuel protests

Protests broke out across Iran against gov't decision to hike fuel prices

Mohamed Sabry Emam Muhammed   | 17.11.2019
Iranian policeman killed in clashes amid fuel protests Demonstrators block main streets of Tehran during a demonstration against a government decision to hike petrol prices, in Tehran, Iran on November 16, 2019. ( Fatemeh Bahrami - Anadolu Agency )

TEHRAN

An Iranian policeman died in clashes with gunmen in western Iran on Sunday amid protests against a government decision to raise fuel prices, according to the official IRNA news agency.

A police major was injured in clashes with "rioters and thugs" while defending his police station from attackers in the city of Kermanshah on Saturday and later died of his wounds, provincial police chief Ali Akbar Javidan said.

Demonstrations have broken out across Iran since Friday after the government imposed petrol rationing and raised fuel prices.

At least one person has been killed and other injured in the protests.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, around 40 people were arrested in the protests in the central city of Yazd.

The agency also noted that the students of the University of Tabriz also attended the protests against the government’s move to hike fuel prices.

On the other hand, Fars News Agency reported that protests were held in 1080 different locations across the country and about 1,000 protestors were arrested.

It was noted that the protestors set over 100 banks and 50 shops on fire.

Notably, the shopkeepers in the Grand Bazaar of Tehran did not work today. Ahmed Karimi Isfahani, head of the bazaar's union, said they would not open their shops until the safety and stability of the market were secured.

Iranian officials say the new fuel policy, which has seen prices rise by at least 50%, will free up money to help the poor.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities restricted internet access in the country, ISNA news agency quoted a source at the information and telecommunications ministry as saying.

"Access to the internet has been limited as of last night and for the next 24 hours," the source said on condition of anonymity.

The source said the decision was made by the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and communicated to internet service providers.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks confirmed that Internet access has been curbed in Iran.

"#Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after 12 hours of progressive network disconnections as public protests continue," it said on Twitter.

Iran has been hit hard by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions last year after President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

* Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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