Iranian authorities have placed restrictions on social media networks which have been used to organize recent anti-establishment protests.
Irib, an Iranian state news agency, reported that the restrictions on messaging app Telegram and photo-sharing app Instagram are temporary.
One of the government officials stated that the decision was made to maintain public order and security of society.
Much of the information about the protests have unfolded via social media, and platforms like Telegram and Instagram have been used by protesters.
Approximately more than 50% of the country’s population said to be active on the messaging app Telegram.
Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov tweeted that Iranian authorities took action after his company refused to shut down peacefully protesting channels.
Even though Telegram on Saturday had blocked a major foreign-based opposition channel, Amadnews, who called for violence against police.
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, an Iranian Communications Minister, had earlier accused channels like Amadnews of promoting armed uprising and social unrest.
The protests erupted in the north-east region of the country as a dissent against economic hardship, but it appeared to shift into political in many places.
Many protesters across the country started chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s interventionist foreign policy in the region.
Violence broke out in many places on Saturday, raising concern on the demonstrations which are expected to be held on Sunday.
Thus far, small crowds have gathered in Tehran and police have used water cannon to disperse protesters at a major intersection.
State-controlled television is expected to air a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the coming hours.
More details to follow. Image 1 of protesters gathering in Tehran from Business Insider.