TEHRAN: Calm returned to central Tehran on Thursday, a day after it was rocked by unprecedented protests over Iran's plunging currency, but all money-changers and most shops were closed, witnesses told AFP.
The Grand Bazaar -- the normally bustling commercial heart of the city -- was mostly shuttered, with mainly streetside shops open. Inside, the historic maze was eerily quiet on what should be a very crowded day for Tehranis, whose weekend falls on Thursday and Friday.
In the nearby traditional money-changing district, police patrolled past locked exchange bureaux.
On Wednesday, hundreds of police and security personnel flooded central Tehran, closing the exchange bureaux and arresting unlicensed money changers. Scuffles broke out with stone-throwing men, and trash dumpsters were set alight.
The police action was part of efforts by authorities to halt the dive of the rial, which is at an all-time low against the dollar.
In the past week the currency has shed around 40 percent of its value, sharply accelerating a slide that has gone on over this year as Western sanctions have worsened Iran's underlying economic problems.
It has started to become difficult for ordinary Iranians to afford staples, and import businesses have lost millions of dollars in a few days.