Protestors’ refusal to join rioters admirable, says police official 

November 26, 2019 - 21:50

TEHRAN – The fact that from the very first hours demonstrators separated their path from rioters and thugs in the last week’s protests over increase in gasoline price testifies the people’s vigilance and this is admirable, Brigadier General Ayoub Soleimani, the deputy police chief, said on Tuesday.

On Monday, people poured into Tehran’s main streets in very large numbers to show their allegiance to the Islamic Republic system and deplore rioters who misused the peaceful protests against increase in gas price to commit acts of violence.

On November 15, the government increased gasoline price. However, the legitimate public protests against the price increase were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement forces to step in to stop saboteurs.

The rioters used guns and knives to attack security forces. The IRGC Deputy Chief Ali Fadavi said on Sunday that rioters shot at people and security forces from a distance of one to one and a half meters. Fadavi said the riots were contained within 48 hours.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since November 15, when increase in gas price went into effect. 

A large number of protesters, who over 93% of them were men, had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to riot, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the intelligence report said.

It showed that gatherings had been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people in 100 places in the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report said violent raids and damage inflicted on properties are larger than what happened in the February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. 

The report said most casualties had resulted from armed attacks on gas stations and military centers, adding that a number of police and Basiji forces were martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province, the intelligence report said.
 

MJ/PA

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