Iranian security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas at demonstrators protesting against the Islamic Republic’s initial denial it shot down a Ukrainian jetliner.
Videos sent to the New York-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran and later verified by The Associated Press showed a crowd of demonstrators fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them.
There were no immediate reports on Iranian state-run media of the incident in Azadi Square on Sunday night (local time).
People coughed while struggling 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 shot in the aftermath shows a woman being carried away, leaving a bloody trail.
People are seen around her crying out that she was shot in the leg with live ammunition.
#BREAKING: #Khamenei has authorized his security forces to open fire at people who are protesting against #Iran's Islamic Regime over shot-down of #PS752 by #IRGC. It is started in #AzadiStreet of #Tehran right now, Special Unit of Police shot at two women. #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/PNgVGxkn63
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 12, 2020
However, Tehran’s police chief General Hossein Rahimi later denied his officers opened fire.
“Police treated people who had gathered with patience and tolerance,” General Rahimi told Iranian media.
“Police did not shoot in the gatherings since broad-mindedness and restraint has been the agenda of the police forces of the capital.”
However, uniformed police officers were just one arm of Iran’s security forces who were out in force for the demonstrations.
Riot police in black uniforms and helmets gathered earlier on Sunday in Vali-e Asr Square, at Tehran University and at other landmarks.
Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the city on motorbikes, and plainclothes security men were also out in force.
Read more via AP