#TwitterBanKhamenei: Iranians Turn to Twitter to Fight Against Internet Shutdown Amid Protests

Published November 17th, 2019 - 10:05 GMT

The hashtag #TwitterBanKhamenei went viral as Iranians call on Twitter to ban all accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, after the government almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country amid protests over an increase in fuel prices.

Khamenei’s online presence infuriated many Iranians who have been unable to get in touch with their friends and families in the country after the government shut off access to the internet. 

With the whole country seemingly offline, activists accused Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of allegedly tweeting in support of the government’s decision to increase fuel prices.

In response, Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad called on activists to pressure Twitter to ban the accounts of Khamenei by using the hashtag #TwitterBanKhamenei “until internet access is restored” in Iran.

“I invite all activists to call on @Twitter to ban supreme leader of Islamic Republic @khamenei_ir until Internet access is restored. Without it we cannot monitor human rights violations. #TwitterBanKhamenei,” she tweeted.

Cybersecurity NGO Netblocks confirmed that Iran had almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country.

Iran imposed petrol rationing and raised pump prices by at least 50 percent, saying the move was aimed at helping citizens in need with cash handouts.  

Anti-government protests have erupted in over 53 Iranian cities since the decision was announced. Security forces have reportedly killed at least 29 citizens so far since the start of the protests.

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