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Iranian Activists Deface Cash to Challenge Tehran

Indigenous Anangu children play with a camera during a ceremony marking the permanent ban on climbing Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia's Northern Territory.

Iranian opposition activists have found a new canvas for displaying anti-government messages on social media: cash.

Since Friday, the activists have been encouraging Iranians to write those messages on domestic banknotes and share pictures of them via social media using the Farsi hashtag "#100,000_Speaking_Banknotes."

Twitter users have posted thousands of tweets with that hashtag, along with images of banknotes defaced with a variety of opposition symbols and messages — including calls for an end to Iran's Islamist rule, heard in anti-government street protests this year in different parts of the country.

One user, who identified as Azi, posted a photograph of a banknote with the message "Our enemy is right here, they say it's America," a reference to Iranian leaders who describe the U.S. as an enemy nation.

Another image featured a banknote with a black cross mark over the word "Islamic," which is part of the name of the issuing bank — the "Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Other activists wrote messages onto banknotes paying tribute to Iranian women who have been resisting laws requiring them to wear a hijab or head covering in public. Some messages included the name that some women have given to that movement — the Girls of Enghelab Street, a reference to the Tehran street where an Iranian woman stood on a utility box, took off her hijab and waved it from a stick last December, setting off a wave of similar acts of protest in the following months.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Persian Service.