Chanting ‘let us breathe,’ booing Khamenei: Iranian protests heat up

Protesters booed when a speaker wished good health to the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is reportedly ill.

By World Israel News Staff

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Isfahan for the 12th consecutive day on Friday, calling for help from the government as the region suffers from droughts that have caused widespread water shortages devastating local farmers.

Viral videos on social media showed protesters at a tent city set up by farmers, with Reuters reporting that one woman’s sign read “Our children want water to provide food for your children.”

“Thousands of Iranian people have joined the protest gathering of farmers on the dry bed of Zayandeh Rud to voice their anger after the city’s lifeblood river dried up. Footages [sic] show protesters chanting slogans against authorities and clerics ruling Iran,” wrote London-based news site Iran International English.

Protesters were heard chanting, “Let Isfahan breathe again, revive Zayandeh Rud [local river],” but their cries eventually shifted to calling out the Islamic Republic’s current rulers.

In a video from the demonstration, protesters can be seen booing when a speaker wishes good health to the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is reportedly ill.

Another video from the scene depicts a protester changing a street sign honoring the “Martyrs of Gaza” to the “Martyrs of November 2019,” in reference to protesters killed by the Iranian government two years ago during a move to clamp down on widespread demonstrations.

While the Iranian government cites the country’s worst drought in 50 years as the reason for the water shortages, critics point to mismanagement and corruption as a major contributing factor to the crisis.

According to IEE, locals reported widespread internet outages in the area, which they attributed to government efforts to reduce coverage of the protests.

“I apologize to all of our dear farmers, and I feel ashamed for not being able to provide the water needed for their crops,” Iranian Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian told state TV in response to the protests.

“With God’s help, I hope we can overcome these shortcomings in the next few months.”

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Reuters contributed to this report.