Iranian security forces have killed more than 100 protesters so far, using “excessive and lethal force” to crush largely peaceful demonstrations against a fuel price hike in more than 100 cities, according to the Amnesty International organization.
The protests began in response to an increase in fuel prices on November 15.
Eyewitness testimony and verified video footage is being used to confirm the information that at least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed so far, according to what the organization says are “credible reports,” although it’s believed those numbers may in fact be higher.
Some reports suggest the death toll could be as high as 200.
Iranian security forces have reportedly been using firearms with live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas, in addition to beatings with batons, to crack down on the protests.
According to state media, as of November 17, more than 1,000 arrests had been made. One day earlier, there was a near-total shutdown of the internet by the government in an attempt to prevent the transmission of images and videos of activities by security forces.
The NGO NetBlocks reports that Iran’s connectivity to the outside world has fallen to four percent of routine levels since the start of the protests. All mobile networks and web networks are down and telecommunications are blocked, although some users have managed to access the internet via VPNs and other means.
Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, warned, “The frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters in these and previous mass protests, as well as the systematic impunity for security forces who kill protesters, raise serious fears that the intentional lethal use of firearms to crush protests has become a matter of state policy.”