AP: Defying police, Iranians protest over plane shootdown

Jan 12
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 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 United States.

Videos posted online showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans and moving through subway stations and sidewalks, many near 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.

Riot police in black uniforms and helmets earlier massed in Vali-e Asr Square, at Tehran University and other landmarks. Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the city on motorbikes, and plainclothes security men were also out in force. People looked down as they walked briskly past police, hoping not to draw attention to themselves.

The plane crash early Wednesday killed everyone on board, mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians. After initially pointing to a technical failure and insisting the armed forces were not to blame, authorities on Saturday admitted to accidentally shooting it down in the face of mounting evidence and accusations by Western leaders.

 

Iran downed the flight as it braced for possible American retaliation after firing ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces. The missile attack, which caused no casualties, was a response to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad. But no retaliation came.

Iranians have expressed anger over the downing of the plane and the misleading explanations from senior officials in the wake of the tragedy. They are also mourning the dead, which included many young people who were studying abroad.

“Even talking about it makes my heart beat faster and makes me sad,” said Zahra Razeghi, a Tehran resident. “I feel ashamed when I think about their families.”

“The denial and covering up the truth over the past three days greatly added to the suffering and pain of the families, and me,” she added.

Another individual, who identified himself only as Saeed, said Iran’s largely state-run media had concealed the cause of the crash for “political reasons.”

“Later developments changed the game, and they had to tell the truth,” he said.

Published in AP

New clips arrived from inside Iran:

 Amazing. Brave young women tearing down photos of Qassem Soleimani from walls in Tabriz. P

 

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Published in News
Last modified on Sunday, 12 January 2020 19:06

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