Gruesome footage has revealed the Iranian government’s violent crackdown on protesters during an eight-day internet blackout across the country.

Demonstrations broke out on the streets of Iran on November 15, hours after a shocking announcement that the price of petrol would be immediately raised by as much as 200 per cent.

The protests quickly turned violent, with petrol pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted.

The government responded by cutting access to the internet in a nationwide blackout, and deploying police and plainclothes agents to stop the protests.

Since the internet was gradually restored, footage has emerged revealing just how brutal the crackdown was.

Grainy videos taken by Iranian citizens show police opening fire on crowds of protesters, beating them with metal objects and dragging their bodies across the road.

Other videos show people lying in their own blood on the pavement, hordes of people shouting and screaming amid the sound of gunfire, and others being arrested.

Amnesty International has estimated that at least 143 protesters were killed after the protests on November 15, although the actual number is believed to be much higher.

The human rights organisation said the deaths were almost entirely the result of gunfire being used on civilians by security forces.

“The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life,” said Philip Luther, research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, in a statement.

Human Rights Watch accused Iran of “deliberately covering up” deaths and arrests during the demonstrations.

The organisation charged that Iranian authorities were “deliberately covering up the scale of the mass crackdown against protesters” and called on them to “immediately announce the number of deaths, arrests and detentions”.

The group’s deputy Middle East director, Michael Page, criticised Iran for having so far “refused to provide an accurate death toll and instead threatened detainees with death”.

Iranian officials have confirmed that five people were killed and have so far announced about 500 arrests, including of some 180 “ringleaders”.

“Keeping families in the dark about the fate of their loved ones while ratcheting up an atmosphere of fear and retribution is a deliberate government strategy to stifle dissent,” Mr Page said.


The Iranian government denied the accusations, instead blaming the protests on foreign enemies.

They have also dismissed criticism from the US, Europe and the UN about the violence.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made such a comment while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s all-volunteer Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations.

In comments reported by state media, Mr Khamenei said the Iranian people extinguished “a very dangerous deep conspiracy that cost so much money and effort”.

He praised the police, the Guard and the Basij for “entering the field and carrying out their task in a very difficult confrontation”.

Mr Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, described the protests as being orchestrated by “global arrogance,” which he often uses to refer to the US “and Zionists”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate within Iran’s ruling Shiite theocracy, similarly blamed America for the protests without offering evidence.

He called violent protesters “mercenaries” and “hooligans”, alleging the US sent money over two years to spark the demonstrations.

“We achieved a great national victory against superpowers,” Rouhani said. “This great epic shows the power of our people.”

— With AP

Originally published as Gruesome footage nation tried to hide