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Iran protests erupt in Arab-separatist stronghold Ahwaz city

Anti-government protests in Iran entered their third day on Saturday [Twitter]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2017

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Thousands of protesters took the streets in city of Ahwaz city in south-western Iran on Saturday as mass anti-government demonstrations spread across the country.

Thousands of protesters took the streets in Iran's Arab-speaking Ahwaz city on Saturday, as mass anti-government demonstrations spread across the country.

Videos have emerged on social media of protesters taking to the streets of the ethnically diverse city and clashing with riot police.

Khuzestan province, known in Arabic as al-Ahwaz, is home to a large Arab population, some of whom have long sought to establish a separate state.

Arab residents of the province - which borders Iraq and the Gulf coast and is rich in oil and gas - have long complained of cultural repression and of being ostracised by the Iranian state.

The protests come as a militant group claimed to have blown up an oil pipeline in Khuzestan province, which has been the scene of other attacks by Arab separatists.

Anti-government protests in Iran entered their third day on Saturday as the regime warned against further "illegal gatherings".

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets in anti-government rallies on Friday, in what is thought to be the biggest show of public defiance since 2009.

The protests came a day after demonstrations against rising food prices and inflation began in second city Mashhad, with authorities arresting 52 protesters over the unrest.

Slogans such as "death to the dictator" have been heard throughout the protests.

Iran warned on Sunday that protesters will "pay the price" after a third night of unrest saw mass demonstrations across the country in which two people were killed and dozens arrested.

In February, power blackouts and water shortages in the Khuzestan region led to protests in Ahwaz and other cities in the province.

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