The Iranian government warned against further “illegal gatherings” on Saturday, as protesters rallied for a third day of demonstrations driven by anger over economic problems.
A relatively small protest erupted at the University of Tehran but was vastly outnumbered by a pro-regime demonstration — part of a show of strength from the government that brought thousands to the streets.
Interior Minister Abdolrahman Rahmani Fazli warned against any further anti-government action, saying: “We urge all those who receive these calls to protest not to participate in these illegal gatherings as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens.”
Videos on social media had shown dozens of students around Tehran’s university chanting slogans against the regime — mirroring protests that began in second city Mashhad before spreading to several major towns.
But hundreds of conservative students later seized control of the entrance to the university, chanting “Death to the seditionists”.
The protests began on Thursday as an attack on high living costs but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.
State news channel IRINN said it had been banned from covering the protests that spread from Mashhad to towns and cities including Qom and Kermanshah.
Media coverage inside Iran focused almost exclusively on pro-regime rallies held earlier on Saturday to mark the defeat of the last major protest movement in 2009, which hardliners call “the sedition.”