Every year on the last Tuesday night of the Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20, Iranians celebrate the Chaharshanbeh Suri festival, a pre-Islamic tradition that involves leaping over bonfires to keep away evil spirits.
The festival is not officially endorsed but is popular among young people. It festival also results in significant casualties every year, with this year’s celebrations resulting in 11 deaths and over 3,500 injuries, according to Iran’s emergency services chief.
The festival comes after months-long protests that erupted in Iran in September following the death in custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who died shortly after being arrested by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women.
Videos posted on Twitter by the activist group 1500tasvir showed acts of defiance taking place in several parts of Iran, including the capital Tehran, with protesters chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
One video showed Iranians in Tehran throwing fireworks at security forces on motorcycles, while another showed two individuals in an unspecified city throwing fireworks at a billboard featuring the late IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani.
In another video from Tehran, a crowd gathered around a bonfire with women throwing their headscarves into the fire.
Other videos posted on Twitter showed protests in Bandar Anzali, Khorramabad, Doroud, Rasht Bukan, Karaj, Esfahan, and Sanandaj, with demonstrators chanting slogans against Khamenei and the IRGC.
The protests that followed Amini’s death have largely subsided due to a deadly crackdown by the regime. However, some observers believe that the protests may reignite as the underlying grievances have yet to be addressed.
Source: Al Arabiya