The latest escalating tensions between the US and Iran involves the people of Iran themselves. Per Reuters, protesters gathered for a third day Monday in Iran, after a violent weekend that pitted the demonstrators against riot police. Video circulating on social media showed the latter beating protesters with batons, security forces running with rifles, and injured people being carried from the scene in Tehran's Azadi Square; the sounds of gunfire could also be heard in some footage. CNN also cites videos that show the protesters being doused with tear gas by police in Tehran. The protests had started Saturday as pushback against the Iranian government, including Ayatollah Khamenei, after Iran "unintentionally" shot down a Ukrainian plane on Wednesday, which killed 176 people on board.
President Trump responded on Twitter to the reports of the bloody protests. "To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS," he tweeted. "Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching." He added: "Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!" Iranian police, however, deny any such shootings took place. "At protests, police absolutely did not shoot, because the capital's police officers have been given orders to show restraint," the chief of Tehran's police said in a statement via state media, per Reuters. CNN notes the protests are in stark contrast to the images of a unified Iranian populace that emerged after the Trump-authorized assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani earlier this month. (Read more Iran stories.)