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Iranian police shoot at protesters, video shows

The Hill logo The Hill 1/13/2020 Aris Folley
a man looking at the camera: Iranian police shoot at protesters, video shows © AP Iranian police shoot at protesters, video shows

Video shows Iranian police using tear gas and live ammunition on protesters who were demonstrating after the government in Tehran admitted to mistakenly shooting down an Ukraine-bound airplane, The Associated Press reports.

Droves of protesters in Tehran could be seen in footage released by the news service attempting to flee as tears gas is fired into the crowd. At one point in the clip, a woman could reportedly be heard saying in Farsi, "They fired tear gas at people! Azadi Square. Death to the dictator!"

In other footage, a woman can reportedly be seen being carried as others around her say she was shot in the leg.

Gen. Hossein Rahimi, who heads Tehran's police, told local media that his officers "shot tear gas in some areas" to diffuse protests. However, he denied his officers used live ammunition on demonstrators, according to the AP.

"Police treated people who had gathered with patience and tolerance," he reportedly said. "Police did not shoot in the gatherings since broad-mindedness and restraint has been the agenda of the police forces of the capital."

Anti-government protests erupted in Iran late last week after government officials admitted that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was mistakenly shot down by an Iranian missile shortly after departing the Imam Khomeini International Airport. The crash killed all 176 people on board.

The crash last Wednesday came hours after Iran launched missiles at two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. The attack was retaliation for President Trump's decision to approve a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani.

Trump on Saturday shared a message of support in Farsi for demonstrators who flooded the streets in outrage over the country's admission to shooting down the plane.

He also urged Iranian leaders not to "kill" their protesters in a tweet on Sunday morning.

"To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free!" Trump tweeted.

"Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!" he added.

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