GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested about 100 leaders of protests that erupted last week over gasoline price rises, Gholamhossein Esmaili, spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, said on Friday according to the official IRNA news agency.
“Approximately 100 leaders, heads and main figures of the recent unrest were identified and arrested in various parts of the country by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” Esmaili said.
Iranian authorities have said about 1,000 demonstrators have been arrested.
Anyone who created insecurity or damaged public property will face “severe punishment”, the head the judiciary, Ebrahimi Raisi, said on Friday, according to Mizan, the news site of the judiciary.
A large number of people arrested who had taken part in the protests but did not take part in causing damage or setting fires have been released, judiciary spokesman Esmaili said, according to Mizan.
The Guards said calm had returned across Iran on Thursday, state TV reported. Amnesty International said more than 100 demonstrators had been killed by the security forces, a figure rejected as “speculative” by the government.
Protests began on Nov. 15 in several towns after the government announced gasoline price hikes of at least 50%. They spread to 100 cities and towns and quickly turned political with protesters demanding top officials step down.
State TV showed thousands marching in pro-government rallies in about half a dozen cities on Friday.
(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by David Clarke and Giles Elgood)