With the sting of the Arab Spring still lingering, it takes nothing more than a water gun to alarm governments these days.
Young people splashing each other with water apparently translates to civil unrest in Iran, where a number of people were arrested over the weekend for engaging in water fights in a Tehran public park, the Associated Press reports.
“This is not simply a game with water. This act is being guided from abroad,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni, an Iranian spokesman of the judiciary reportedly said, inferring that Iranian opposition groups were the culprit.
Mohseni told conservative news website Tabnak that detainees were deceived, “and some said they came out based on a call from a counterrevolutionary,” according to the Associated Press. Some detainees also claimed they were given water guns and were “motivated by ‘foreign invitation.’”
The recent mass arrest is the culmination of a summer-long effort to quell the widespread flash mobs of water fights around the country. The first occurrence in July at Tehran’s Water and Fire Park led to the arrest of dozens of men and women.
While these young Iranians are merely playing with water, government authorities view it as playing with fire. Aside from nearby uprisings, the Iranian government remains cautious of any type of assembly since the 2009 protests over the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Demonstrators decried a rigged election and though they were overpowered, their protest was the most significant challenge to the regime in recent history, leaving authorities paranoid. But while the possibility of unrest is more prevalent than ever, even some conservative clerics argue that young people are just reacting to harsh constrictions the government places upon them.
Until the youth start loading squirt guns with live ammunition, what’s a little harm in getting wet?