Internet Disruption On Bloody November Anniversary

Saturday, 11/18/2023

Iran witnessed a significant disruption in the country's internet services, with complete outages reported in certain areas on Saturday, the anniversary of Bloody November.

Users on social media platforms reported widespread difficulties accessing foreign websites and Gmail services.

Shortly after the severe disruption, government-affiliated media outlets announced that the issue had been resolved. Tasnim News Agency, linked to the Revolutionary Guard, attributed the problem to issues in some internet service providers. The agency stated, "The reported internet disruption in parts of the country, especially Tehran, has been resolved. Problems in certain internet service providers were the temporary cause," in a denial of its own responsibility in spite of a history of internet shutdowns.

The disruption coincides with the anniversary of the nationwide protests in Iran, known as Bloody November, which occurred in 2019. Initially triggered by a significant increase in fuel prices, the demonstrations quickly evolved into calls for the overthrow of the government and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It was one of the worst bouts of civil uprising since 1979.

A rights group's report indicates that during the events from November 15 to 17, at least 3,000 protesters were killed by the Islamic Republic security forces, with nearly 20,000 individuals arrested. Reuters, at the time, reported 1,500 deaths.

The same internet outages were prevalent in the lead-up to the Mahsa Amini anniversary in September, the young lady who died in morality police custody last year, triggering the Women, Life, Freedom protests. 

This year has seen a more aggressive push by hardliners in the Iranian parliament to ratify legislation that would further restrict access to social media and the internet as crackdowns on anti-regime sentiment continue unabated.

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