Videos show scattered anti-government protests during Iran’s fire festival

Iranians have held scattered anti-government protests during an annual fire festival with ancient roots, according to videos circulating online.

The videos appear to show protesters in different cities chanting against the country’s ruling clerics and hurling firecrackers at security forces during celebrations of Chaharshanbe Soori, which took place yesterday. Hardliners have long condemned the festival, which dates back to 1700 BC, as un-Islamic.

Iran has seen waves of anti-government protests since September, when a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died after being detained by the morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict Islamic dress code. At their height, the protests saw thousands of people across the country calling for the overthrow of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The protests have largely died down in over the past few months following a fierce security crackdown. More than 19,700 people were arrested and at least 530 protesters were killed, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest.

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