Iran protests: Videos allegedly show police firing at demonstrators

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday Jan. 8 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday Jan. 8 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS Sean Kilpatrick

There were no survivors. Meanwhile, other social media posts supposedly showed images of police in riot gear hitting demonstrators with batons.

Online videos appeared to show Iranian security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests as popular anger swelled Monday over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner and Iran's failed attempt to hide its role in the tragedy.

Authorities denied that police had opened fire, while US President Donald Trump tweeted: "don't kill your protesters".

Tehran has acknowledged shooting down the Ukrainian jetliner by mistake on Wednesday, killing 176 people, hours after it had fired at United States bases to retaliate for the killing of Iran's most powerful military commander in a drone strike ordered by Trump.

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces announced on Saturday that the country's air defense unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8 amid the highest level of readiness because of a possible military attack by the US.

Videos posted online on Sunday recorded what appeared to be gunfire and showed an injured woman being carried away. Footage showed blood on the ground, wounded being carried and people who seemed to be security personnel running with rifles. "They are lying that our enemy is America!"

Reuters could not independently authenticate the videos.

Gen. Hossein Rahimi, Tehran's police chief, denied using live ammunition but acknowledged that officers "shot tear gas in some areas".

Videos sent to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran and later verified by The Associated Press show a crowd of demonstrators near Azadi, or Freedom, Square fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them.

Trump late Sunday slapped O'Brien down, saying, 'Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate.

Its handling of the matter saw a memorial at a Tehran university turn into a demonstration on Saturday evening before it was dispersed by police.

Speaking at the sidelines of an official visit to Singapore on Monday, Vadym Prystaiko said the countries would also discuss compensation and the investigation into the incident. Only on Saturday did authorities acknowledge shooting it down, as evidence mounted and after Western leaders accused Iran of culpability. It denies seeking nuclear arms.

The aircraft was shot down by an Iranian missile on Wednesday after takeoff in Tehran. So far, only 2020 Democrat presidential candidates Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar have spoken out in support of the Iranian people. He called it "a sad day", while insisting the shoot-down was a result of "human error" during a crisis "caused by USA adventurism". The militia surrounded the U.S. embassy in Baghdad for two days, and Trump later ordered the strike on Soleimani, who had built up Iran's regional network of allied militia.

The Iranian government has said its elite Revolutionary Guard mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 as it departed Tehran's international airport Tuesday, hours after an Iranian missile strike on military facilities housing US troops in neighboring Iraq.

The majority of those on Flight PS752 were Iranians and Canadians, including dual nationals.

Hardliners within the Iranian government have warned against holding more large-scale vigils to mourn the passengers of the downed Ukrainian airliners. Prystaiko said Ukraine was not informed by Iran that it would be taking responsibility before that public announcement.

But Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said the missile operator acted independently, shooting down the Boeing 737 after mistaking it for a "cruise missile".

He said the five nations also included Canada - which had at least 57 passport holders aboard the doomed flight - Sweden, Afghanistan and a fifth country which he did not name.

The team includes consular officials and two members of Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

At a student protest to pay tribute to the crash victims on Saturday, Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain's ambassador, in what the British government called a violation of worldwide law.

"This was an unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated", the spokesman said on January 13.

"This tragedy should never have happened", he said.

"The FCO has summoned the Iranian ambassador today to convey our strong objections".

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