Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Protesters swarm Iran´s Grand Bazaar in Tehran

Bazaar of Tehran Bazaar of Tehran
Laurie Berry | 28 June, 2018, 15:28

The first clash between the protesters and the police occurred near the Parliament building, where the security forces to disperse the crowd using tear gas.

The unplanned demonstrations come a day after Tehran's two major shopping malls dedicated to mobiles and electronics shut down in protest over alleged rent-seeking by official importers, and refused to sell their products using the government's reduced rial rate of IRR42,000 to the dollar.

Tehran's cell phone market went on strike on Sunday June 24, with store owners and people marching in protest in Jomhouri (Republic) Avenue as the city's Forex market, just a stone-throw away, recorded the highest value for United States dollar against the Iranian currency rial.

There had been several national and global protests against the long-standing ban on women attending Iranian stadiums. Iran's government set an official, fixed exchange rate of 42,000 rials to the dollar earlier this year and banned trading at other rates to try to stop the rial's decline, but black market activity has continued. In the Grand Bazaar, hundreds staged a similar protest, videos posted on social media show.

Other videos appear to show the protestors chanting, "Death to dictator".

The protests come ahead of the renewed USA oil embargo against Iran, which could capsize the nation's fragile economy.

Disney’s bid for Fox clears USA antitrust hurdle
That threat prompted AT&T Inc.to buy Time Warner Inc., a deal the government challenged and lost at trial earlier this month. The slimmed down 21st Century Fox would retain the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Business.

Ali Fadli, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said that the situation in the Tehran Bazaar is calm and has since it returned to its normal. Protesters there forced storekeepers to close down their shops Monday.

"Their demands are delivered through the chamber to the government, and these are being pursued by us".

At the end of past year, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to about 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its 009 disputed presidential election.

A wave of demonstrations in December 2017-January 2018 rattled the regime and got global media attention, but there have been few major disturbances reported in recent months.

"Shopkeepers in Great Bazaar of Tehran, the heart of Iran's economy, have gone on strike, closing their shops in protest at the ongoing economic crisis", Reza Khaasteh tweeted from Tehran. On Monday, state television quoted Iranian Central Bank chief Valiollah Seif as saying the government plans to create a parallel market next week to combat the black market.

Some hard-liners have called for new elections or for a military-led government to replace Rouhani's government.

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