Gunmen ‘Open Fire on Protesters in Iran’ as Citizens Rise Up Against Regime
Iranian demonstrators demand change in leadership, protests turn bloody as gov't responds
As the people of Iran are rising up in protest against the Iranian regime, videos have emerged online that appear to show police opening fire on anti-government demonstrators.
Iranian police can be seen using tear gas and firing shots at demonstrators who have taken to the streets in protest over the Islamic Republic’s initial denial that it shot down the Ukrainian plane last week, killing all 176 people on board.
Videos uploaded to social media late on Sunday show pools of blood on the ground while gunshots can be heard in the background as people run away screaming.
Wounded people can also be seen as they are being carried away by others.
Other posts show protesters being beaten by riot police with batons on the street, as people nearby can be heard shouting "Don’t beat them!"
In a statement on the Iranian regime-controlled news website on Monday, Tehran’s police chief Hossein Rahimi said that officers did not fire on protesters, adding that police have been under orders to show restraint.
Rahimi said: "At protests, police absolutely did not shoot because the capital’s police officers have been given orders to show restraint."
The incident took place near Azadi, or Freedom, Square in Tehran on Sunday night after a call to protest there.
International rights groups have called on Iran to allow people to protest peacefully as allowed by the country’s constitution.
#IranProtests occurred at multiple sites today in Tehran, according to videos sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran. Here tear gas is shot directly into a crowd outside Shademaan Metro Station in Tehran at approx 7:30pm Tehran time. pic.twitter.com/elRzY6sUfa— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) January 12, 2020
Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, said: "After successive national traumas in a short time period, people should be allowed to safely grieve and demand accountability.
"Iranians shouldn’t have to risk their lives to exercise their constitutional right to peaceful assembly."
The videos were sent to the center and later verified by The Associated Press, with one showing a crowd of demonstrators fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them.
People cough and sputter while trying to escape the fumes, with one woman calling out in Farsi: "They fired tear gas at people! Azadi Square.
"Death to the dictator!"
Another video shows a woman being carried away in the aftermath as a blood trail can be seen on the ground.
Those around her cry out that she has been shot by live ammunition in the leg.
Photos and video after the incident show pools of blood on the pavement.
Protestors scream "down with the dictator" on the streets of Iran
Riot police in black uniforms and helmets gathered earlier Sunday in Vali-e Asr Square, at Tehran University and other landmarks.
🔴Warning— Mohammad Mozafari (@mohmd_mozafari) January 12, 2020
Repressive forces of the Islamic Republic have fired on Iranian protesters. Local sources say 7 people were injured in Tehran. The Islamic Republic massacred 1,500 Iranian protesters in November.#IranProtests #IranProtests2020 pic.twitter.com/S78x4zeUMI
Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the city on motorbikes, and plainclothes security men were also out in force.
The crash of the Ukraine International Airline early on Wednesday killed all 176 people on board, mostly Iranians and Canadians with four Brits among the victims.
After pointing to a technical failure and insisting for three days that the Iranian armed forces were not to blame, authorities on Saturday admitted accidentally shooting it down in the face of mounting evidence and accusations by Western leaders.
Iran downed the flight as it braced for possible American retaliation after firing ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing US forces earlier on Wednesday.
The missile attack, which caused no casualties, was a response to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top terror chief, in a US airstrike in Baghdad.
Iranians have expressed anger over the downing of the plane and the misleading explanations from senior officials in the wake of the tragedy.
They are also mourning the dead, which included many young people who were studying abroad.
This is HUGE!— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) January 12, 2020
Students at an Iranian university refuse trampling on 🇺🇸 & 🇮🇱 flags.
The people are bravely rising up!
May this finally be the end of this brutal #Iran regime & beginning of a new future for the people of Iran and our region. #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/W8BRWabEVr
Zahra Razeghi, who lives in Tehran but was not taking part in demonstrations, said: "Even talking about it makes my heart beat faster and makes me sad.
"I feel ashamed when I think about their families.
"The denial and covering up the truth over the past three days greatly added to the suffering and pain of the families, and me."
President Donald Trump responded to the videos that emerged on Sunday, by tweeting: "DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS."
"The World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching," he added.
To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, this weekend after he went to a vigil for the plane crash victims without knowing it would turn into a protest.
Britain said its envoy was detained "without grounds or explanation" and in "flagrant violation of international law."