IRAN PROTESTS – Police denies shooting anti-government protesters

Police in the Iranian capital, Tehran, have denied using live ammunition against protesters outraged by the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner.

Officers had been given orders to “show restraint”, the chief of police said.

Videos posted online on Sunday recorded what appeared to be gunfire and showed an injured woman being carried away.

Protests erupted on Saturday after Iran admitted firing missiles by mistake at the Ukraine International Airlines jet that crashed near Tehran.

All 176 people on board flight PS752, mostly Iranians and Canadians, were killed.

For the first three days after the crash, Iran denied that its armed forces had shot down the plane and suggested there had been a technical failure.

The admission of responsibility, which came after video emerged of a missile appearing to hit the plane, provoked widespread anger in Iran against the establishment.

Days earlier, Iranians had been united in grief over the killing of Gen Qasem Soleimani, their country’s second most powerful man, in a US drone strike in Iraq.

The latest reports of a possible crackdown echo the protests in Iran in November over rising fuel prices. Human rights groups say hundreds of people were killed.

What happened at the weekend protests?

Sunday’s demonstrations went on late into the night, as people vented their fury against the Iranian government and the powerful Revolutionary Guards, who shot down the Ukrainian plane.

A video posted to social media shows a protester kicking and then ripping down a large poster of Soleimani.

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There were reports that a number of people were injured when security forces broke up a protest in Tehran’s Azadi Square, during which people chanted “death to the dictator” – a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One video posted on social media allegedly showed members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force, which is often used to suppress domestic dissent, attacking protesters in the area. What appears to be gunfire can be heard.

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Another video shows an injured woman being carried away by people who shout that she has been shot in the leg. A pool of blood is seen on the ground.

A protester who saw the injured woman told the BBC: “They started to come with sticks, they started to beat us. When we started to shout slogans, they started to bombard us with fire, they started to shoot.”

Despite such reports, Tehran police chief Brig-Gen Hossein Rahimi insisted that his officers did not fire live ammunition at protesters.

“The police treated the people who had gathered with patience and tolerance,” he said, before warning that “those who intend to manipulate the situation” would face consequences.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei meanwhile dismissed as “crocodile tears” US President Donald Trump’s expressions of support for the protesters.

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Fresh protests reportedly took place on Monday afternoon outside universities in Tehran and the city of Isfahan.

Footage showed students at the capital’s Sharif University of Technology chanting “They killed our elites and replaced them with clerics” – a reference to Iranian students who were on flight PS752.

Prominent Iranians also added their voices to the protests.

The captain of the national men’s volleyball team, Said Marouf, wrote on Instagram that he hoped Iran had seen its “last show” of “deceit and stupidity”.

And one of Iran’s most famous actresses, Tar

Police in the Iranian capital, Tehran, have denied using live ammunition against protesters outraged by the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner.

Officers had been given orders to “show restraint”, the chief of police said.

Videos posted online on Sunday recorded what appeared to be gunfire and showed an injured woman being carried away.

Protests erupted on Saturday, after Iran admitted firing missiles by mistake at the Ukraine International Airlines jet that crashed near Tehran.

All 176 people on board flight PS752, mostly Iranians and Canadians, were killed.

For the first three days after the crash, Iran denied that its armed forces had shot down the plane and suggested there had been a technical failure.

The admission of responsibility, which came after video emerged of a missile appearing to hit the plane, provoked widespread anger in Iran against the establishment.

Days earlier, Iranians had been united in grief over the killing of Gen Qasem Soleimani, their country’s second most powerful man, in a US drone strike in Iraq.

The latest reports of a possible crackdown echo the protests in Iran in November over rising fuel prices. Human rights groups say hundreds of people were killed.

What happened at the weekend protests?

Sunday’s demonstrations went on late into the night, as people vented their fury against the Iranian government and the powerful Revolutionary Guards, who shot down the Ukrainian plane.

A video posted to social media shows a protester kicking and then ripping down a large poster of Soleimani.

Presentational white space

There were reports that a number of people were injured when security forces broke up a protest in Tehran’s Azadi Square, during which people chanted “death to the dictator” – a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One video posted on social media allegedly showed members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force, which is often used to suppress domestic dissent, attacking protesters in the area. What appears to be gunfire can be heard.

Presentational white space

Another video shows an injured woman being carried away by people who shout that she has been shot in the leg. A pool of blood is seen on the ground.

A protester who saw the injured woman told the BBC: “They started to come with sticks, they started to beat us. When we started to shout slogans, they started to bombard us with fire, they started to shoot.”

Despite such reports, Tehran police chief Brig-Gen Hossein Rahimi insisted that his officers did not fire live ammunition at protesters.

“The police treated the people who had gathered with patience and tolerance,” he said, before warning that “those who intend to manipulate the situation” would face consequences.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei meanwhile dismissed as “crocodile tears” US President Donald Trump’s expressions of support for the protesters.

Presentational white space

Fresh protests reportedly took place on Monday afternoon outside universities in Tehran and the city of Isfahan.

Footage showed students at the capital’s Sharif University of Technology chanting “They killed our elites and replaced them with clerics” – a reference to Iranian students who were on flight PS752.

Prominent Iranians also added their voices to the protests.

The captain of the national men’s volleyball team, Said Marouf, wrote on Instagram that he hoped Iran had seen its “last show” of “deceit and stupidity”.

And one of Iran’s most famous actresses, Taraneh Alidoosti, posted that Iranians were being treated not as citizens but as “hostages”.

 

SOURCE –  BBC NEWS