Iran Protesters Defy Police

Meanwhile, the head of the Revolutionary Guard says he wishes he were dead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2020 3:21 PM CST
Iran Protesters Defy Police
Protesters chant slogans and hold up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani while preparing to burn representations of British and Israeli flags, during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

(Newser) – Iranian demonstrators defied a heavy police presence Sunday night to protest their country's days of denials that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane carrying 176 people, the latest unrest to roil the capital amid soaring tensions with the US, the AP reports. Videos posted online showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans and moving through subway stations and sidewalks, many around Azadi, or Freedom, Square after an earlier call for people to demonstrate there. Other videos suggested similar protests were taking place in other Iranian cities. Protesters often wore hoods and covered their faces, probably to avoid being recognized by surveillance cameras.

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Some online videos purported to show police firing tear gas sporadically, though there was no immediate wholesale crackdown on demonstrators. Meanwhile, in an emotional speech before parliament, the head of the Revolutionary Guard apologized for the shootdown and insisted it was a tragic mistake. "I swear to almighty God that I wished I was on that plane and had crashed with them and burned but had not witnessed this tragic incident," said Gen. Hossein Salami. Meanwhile, Fox News reports that President Trump tweeted support for the protesters, saying "I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage." (See what other dramas are unfolding in Iran.)

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