Over 106 protesters had been killed by Iranian authorities, as per a report by Amnesty International (AI), published on November 19th.
Amnesty International claimed that it is working on confirming the information. Therefore, the claim remains a kind of speculation aimed at the intensifying the protest level in Iran.
The organization allegedly obtained the information from reports whose credibility and reliability it has ascertained by interviewing journalists and human rights activists involved in gathering them. It has then reportedly crosschecked the information.
“At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.”
The official death count stands at 6 dead, according to the Iranian government. State media further reported that over 1,000 have been arrested.
Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons.
“The authorities must end this brutal and deadly crackdown immediately and show respect for human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters in these and previous mass protests, as well as the systematic impunity for security forces who kill protesters, raise serious fears that the intentional lethal use of firearms to crush protests has become a matter of state policy.”
Meanwhile, the complete internet shutdown in Iran is still in effect, as of the evening of November 19th. NetBlocks reported that connectivity is less than 10% of normal levels.
Update: It has been 75 hours since #Iran introduced a near-total internet shutdown leaving Iranians isolated from the rest of the world 📉
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) November 19, 2019
“Shutting down communications over the internet is a systematic assault on the right to freedom of expression and suggests that the authorities have something to hide. Iranian authorities must immediately lift all restrictions on access to the internet and social media to allow people to share information and freely express their opinions,” said Philip Luther.
AI furthermore claimed that various Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei “demonized” the protesters, to justify the alleged excessive use of force by authorities.
“Instead of giving a green light to brutality, the Iranian authorities must rein in their security forces to prevent further bloodshed. The long-standing pattern of impunity for unlawful killings and injuries in Iran is bound to continue unless independent impartial investigations are conducted into all suspected instances of arbitrary and abusive use of force, and those who commit such serious crimes and violations are held to account,” said Philip Luther.
At the same time, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also released a statement claiming that live ammunition had been widely used to crackdown on the protests.
“We are deeply concerned by reported violations of international norms and standards on the use of force, including the firing of live ammunition, against demonstrators in Iran”, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville said. “It would suggest that it is not simply the immediate trigger to the protest which was a rise in fuel prices, but…much deeper-seated problems persisting in the country.”
Furthermore, the OHCHR sad that the situation was alarming.
“There are increasing reports suggesting the numbers killed are certainly in the dozens, in at least two figures, some reports (are) even higher. So, it would be very useful to have a better, clearer picture but it is clearly very significant, very alarming situation and widespread across the country.”
Finally, the UN called for restraint from both authorities and protesters.
“Firearms should only be used in cases of an imminent threat to life or of serious injury and only when less extreme measures are insufficient to address such a threat when dispersing peaceful assemblies.”
Protesters should for their part carry out demonstrations without resorting to physical violence or the destruction of property, he insisted, while also calling on the Government to re-establish web access immediately, as well as other forms of communication.
There are limited reports from Iran itself, as the communications shutdown is on-going.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a speech to the cabinet, saying that the Iranian nation was defeating “the plot hatched by enemies and people emerged victorious from yet another historic test.”
According to him, “the Iranian people are well aware that the main goal of the government is self-sufficiency in energy supply so that we do not need to import it and be able to properly execute and consume the energy we need to produce properly as well as a certain amount. Implementing justice in society means that fuel subsidies require more people than needy people.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- US Publicly Backs Iran Protests As Khamenei Says Crackdown On “Thugs” Coming
- Riots In Iran Continue, As Leaders Warn Of “Decisive” Action
- Riots Rage Across Iran Over Gasoline Price Hikes. Internet Is Shut Down