December 25, 2019 / 12:09 PM / a month ago

Iran starts internet shutdown ahead of possible new protests - report

DUBAI, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Iranian authorities have shut down mobile internet access to overseas sites in several provinces, an Iranian news agency reported on Wednesday, a day before new protests called for on social media.

Social media posts and some relatives of people killed in unrest last month over hikes in gasoline prices have called for renewed protests and commemoration ceremonies for the dead on Thursday.

The semi-official news agency ILNA quoted an informed source at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry as saying the shutdown was ordered by “security authorities” and covered the Alborz, Kurdestan and Zanjan provinces in central and western Iran and Fars in the south.

“According to this source, it is possible that more provinces will be affected by the shutdown of mobile international connectivity,” ILNA said.

In November, Iran shut down the internet for about a week to help stifle the fuel protests which turned political, sparking the bloodiest crackdown in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic.

The internet blockage made it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to generate support and also to obtain reliable reports on the extent of the unrest. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Gareth Jones)

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