Clashes between demonstrators and the Iranian security forces during the rallies held against fuel price increases led to the death of at least 106 protesters in 21 cities of Iran, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
“The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed,” Amnesty said in its statement.
Protests erupted last Friday over the government’s announcement of a 50% hike in fuel prices.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned of “decisive” action against protesters if the uprising persisted.
On Saturday, Iran’s interior minister had said that the authorities would no longer show “tolerance” and “self-control” towards the protesters, despite the escalating calamity reports of demonstrators.
Footage from Iran shows security forces beating protesters with batons, breaking the windows of the parked cars of demonstrators while the owners were still inside. Snipers shot into crowds of demonstrators from rooftops, and in one case, from a helicopter, Amnesty reported.
“Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterward, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.”
Several reports received by Amnesty International revealed “the frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters,” during the unrest that broke out in Iran.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tagged the protesters as “villains” who were incited to violence by counter-revolutionaries and foreign enemies of Iran and gave the go-ahead for the brutality against civilians to continue.
Security officials did not return the bodies of the dead to their families but instead forced others to bury the dead without even carrying out an independent autopsy, reports Amnesty.
A day after the protests began, authorities blocked the Internet to prevent news, footage, and pictures from the protests being distributed.
Despite the internet blackout almost throughout the country, social media videos have proven that the streets were flooded by security forces on Monday and the rallies continued in numerous cities.
Social media footage has captured the protesters, burning the pictures of several senior officials and calling the prominent leaders to quit. The ongoing clashes between security forces and civilians were also disseminated on social media.
More than 1000 protesters arrested
State media has reported that about 1,000 protesters have been arrested since the riots broke out, including Sepideh Gholian, a human rights defender.
Gholian was arrested on November 17, while she was demonstrating peacefully protest by holding up a sign on the rise of the fuel prices. Amnesty International voiced their concern about Gholian being subjected to torture during her detention.
The semi-official ISNA news agency of Iran reported that 3 members of security forces and police were stabbed to death, near Tehran.