Iran state TV airs pro-government rallies ‘to protest violence’ during past few days

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed days of anti-government protests across the country on meddling by “enemies of Iran.” (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Iran state TV airs pro-government rallies ‘to protest violence’ during past few days

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian state media on Wednesday aired pro-government demonstrations in cities across the country after a week of protests and unrest over the nation’s poor economy — a move apparently seeking to calm nerves amid clashes that have killed 21 people.
The protests, the largest seen in Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, began December 28 in the city of Mashhad, Iran’s second-largest, over the weak economy and a jump in food prices. They have since expanded to cities and towns in nearly every province. Hundreds have been arrested, and a prominent judge warned that some could face the death penalty.
The English-language broadcaster Press TV broadcast Wednesday’s pro-government rallies live, saying they were to “protest the violence that has taken place over the last few nights in cities.”
Demonstrators waved Iranians flags and signs supporting Iran’s clerically overseen government.
According to state TV, the demonstrations took place in at least 10 cities, including Ahvaz, the capital of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, the Kurdish town of Kermanshah in the country’s west and Qom, the religions capital of Shiite Islam in Iran.
The rallies come after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday blamed days of protests across the country on meddling by “enemies of Iran.”
“Look at the recent days’ incidents,” Khamenei said. “All those who are at odds with the Islamic Republic have utilized various means, including money, weapons, politics and (the) intelligence apparatus, to create problems for the Islamic system, the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution.”
Khamenei avoided identifying any foreign countries, although he promised to elaborate in the coming days. Undoubtedly high on his list is the United States, where President Donald Trump has tweeted his support for the protests for several days.
Iran’s government has since shut down access to Telegram and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which now join Facebook and Twitter in being banned, in an attempt to slow the unrest.
The Trump administration called on Iran’s government to stop blocking Instagram and other popular social media sites. US Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said Instagram, Telegram and other platforms are “legitimate avenues for communication.”
The head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court also reportedly warned that arrested protesters could potentially face the death penalty.
“Obviously one of their charges can be Moharebeh,” or waging war against God, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Mousa Ghazanfarabadi as saying. Moharebeh is punishable by death in Iran.


Police in Philippine town on the rack for anti-rape advice

The mainly Catholic Philippines, a former US colony, prides itself on its culture of promoting gender equality. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 min 5 sec ago
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Police in Philippine town on the rack for anti-rape advice

  • Nationwide rape cases were down 29 percent from a year earlier in the first three months of 2018 but did not give figures
  • Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde sought to play down the rape advice controversy

MANILA: Police in a Philippine town have told women to shun skimpy clothing to avoid rape, sparking outrage in a country that prides itself as an early Asian adopter of liberal Western cultural values.
Women’s groups demanded that police take down Tuesday’s “victim-blaming” anti-rape advice. But it remained on a police social media site Wednesday, with the national police chief calling it “brotherly advice.”
“Don’t wear skimpy clothing,” warned the 10-point posting on the official Facebook page of the police force of Angono, a town on Manila’s outskirts.
“When on a date, don’t drink alcohol,” read the list, which also urged women to learn self-defense, carry tear gas or pepper spray and not to walk alone in the dark.
“Clothes don’t cause rape, rapists do,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Instead of ‘teaching’ women how to dress ‘appropriately’ and limit our choices, our police force should help in educating the public, especially men,” she added.
The mainly Catholic Philippines, a former US colony, prides itself on its culture of promoting gender equality.
But critics allege it took a step backward by electing President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his inflammatory remarks about women.
During the 2016 election campaign Duterte joked during a speech that he “should have been first” while recalling the rape and murder of an Australian female lay minister in a 1989 prison riot.
Early this year Duterte said he would tell soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in their private parts because “if there is no vagina, (the woman) has no use.”
Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde sought to play down the rape advice controversy.
“They (women) can have it their own way, they just have to make precautions and probably you should dress in accordance with the place, with the occasion,” he told reporters.
“I think that’s what our policemen are trying to say, just brotherly advice,” said Albayalde.
He said nationwide rape cases were down 29 percent from a year earlier in the first three months of 2018 but did not give figures.