“They Aimed at My Son’s Head”: Report Reveals Carnage in Crushed Iran Protests
May 27, 2020 — A new report released today by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) documents the extraordinary state violence that was used against protesters in Iran during the unrest that gripped the country in November 2019 and January 2020.
The 66-page report, Gunning Them Down: State Violence against Protesters in Iran, provides dozens of firsthand accounts by eyewitnesses, families of those killed, and lawyers of detainees.
These accounts describe in detail the state’s indiscriminate firing of live ammunition into crowds of civilians, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of individuals, including women, children and bystanders, untold injuries from gunshots, tear gas and beatings, and thousands of arrests in the span of roughly a week.
“The chilling testimonies in this report regarding the women, bystanders and children killed by Iran’s security forces reveal a state that has dropped any pretense of lawful behavior and has grown fearful of its own people and their discontent,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.
Gunning Them Down: State Violence against Protesters in Iran covers two periods of unrest in Iran: the November 2019 protests, which were triggered by the government’s gasoline price hike, and the January 2020 protests, which were fueled by the Revolutionary Guards’ admission that it had shot down a Ukrainian passenger flight on January 8, 2020, after publicly denying it for three days. Both periods of protest reflected underlying societal frustration over worsening economic conditions, mismanagement, corruption and political repression.
There has been a complete lack of transparency regarding the Iranian state’s actions during this period. A state-imposed, week-long shutdown of the internet in Iran and news blackout allowed the violence to be carried out without public scrutiny, and the government has still not released any official figures regarding the actual number of those killed, injured and arrested—or those who remain in detention.
Moreover, there has been no accountability for the deaths or injuries—including those of the many bystanders who were killed due to indiscriminate firing of ammunition by the state’s security forces, or for the many juveniles who were killed or beaten during detentions.
As a result, the testimonies of survivors and eyewitness is critical and Gunning Them Down: State Violence against Protesters in Iran provides comprehensive documentation of these events.
“The international community should not only condemn the Iranian government’s violent suppression of the right to protest and the slaughter of its own citizens, it must also continue to call for an independent investigation into the state’s actions during these protests,” Ghaemi said.
Download the Full Report
Read this article in Persian.