Hard-line Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran today, surging past riot police, scaling the compound’s walls, and pelting the buildings inside with rocks and petrol bombs. They then pulled down the British flag, burned it, and replaced it with an Iranian one, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported. Security forces “appeared to do little to stop them,” according to Reuters, though within less than two hours they had restored order.
It’s unclear what happened to the embassy staff—Mehr said they’d fled “by the back door,” but it also at one point said students had taken six staffers hostage, according to the AP. The state-run IRNA news agency also reported roughly 300 protesters breaking into the British ambassador’s residence elsewhere in the city, and again bringing down the Union Jack flying there. The episode comes two days after Iran downgraded diplomatic relations with Britain over its endorsement of tougher Western sanctions.