Monday, May 24, 2010

Shouts of protest greet Ahmadinejad in Khorramshahr

Despite efforts to carefully orchestrate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's official visits to avoid embarrassing situations and paint him as a popular national leader, live footage of the president's speech in Khorramshahr, Khuzestan province, was overwhelmed by the crowd's incessant shouts of 'unemployment, unemployment' on Monday, May 24, 2010.

View Khorramshahr - crowd shouts 'bikari, bikari' (unemployment, unemployment) during Ahmadinejad speech - 24 May 2010 in a larger map

Ahmadinejad was in Khorramshahr to celebrate the liberation of the city on May 24, 1982, considered a turning point in the Iran-Iraq War. The inauguration of a water pipeline was also announced with much pomp. But the restless crowd of people who greeted Ahmadinejad had little interest in celebrating Operation Beit ol-Moghaddas which took back the port city from Iraqi forces, a seminal event in the history of the Islamic Republic, or to revel in a waterworks project.

Ahmadinejad attempted to shout over the cries of the population, but even his promises to stem unemployment in the southwestern province failed to trigger applause or to calm the people's loud refrain of 'bikari, bikari!' (unemployment, unemployment!) 'The government is at your service,' said the beleaguered Ahmadinejad. 'With broad projects, with the efforts of the dear youth of Khorramshahr and Khuzestan province, it will uproot unemployment from Khuzestan, god willing.'