01/13/2020, 10.24
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Thousands of Iranians take to streets to protest shooting down of Ukrainian plane

For the second consecutive day yesterday, demonstrators poured into the streets and squares of Tehran and other cities. Moderate newspaper calls for "apologies and resignations" of those responsible. Unconfirmed videos show gun shots in the vicinity of the protesters. For young people, the enemy is not America, but "it's here".




Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the second consecutive day, thousands of Iranians took to the streets yesterday in the capital Tehran and other cities, protesting against the leadership of the Islamic Republic for the shooting down of the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane. The demonstrators chanted slogans and songs against the country's political, institutional and religious leaders, engaging in repeated clashes with the security forces that intervened to disperse the demonstrations.

The agents exploded tear gas and used sticks on the citizen in the squares. According to some videos posted on social media, there were also several gunshots fired near the protesters. However, there are no independent and reliable reports of gun use or signs of blood on the ground, neither reports of casualties or serious injuries.

"They lie telling us that our enemy is America. Our enemy is here, "shouted a group of demonstrators, gathered outside a university in Tehran. Other videos show demonstrators outside a second university and a group of people marching towards Azadi (freedom) square in the capital. Other unconfirmed videos would show young people refusing to step on the US (and Israeli) flag, a common gesture - and supported by religious authorities - in moments of maximum tension between Iran and the West.

Anger and protests against government and authorities rekindled after the heads of the Islamic Republic lied for days, strongly denying any responsibility for the crash of the flight from Tehran to Kiev, with 176 people on board. Only at the weekend did the Guardians of the Revolution (Pasdaran) admit their responsibility, speaking of a "mistaken" launch of a missile on the plane.

The aircraft crashed on the night of maximum tension (January 8) between the Islamic Republic and the United States, when Tehran launched a missile attack against US targets in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force. The victims are largely Iranian or Iranian-Canadian. Intellectuals and newspapers within the country have been highly critical, including the moderate Etemad which, in a headline yesterday, asked for "apologies and resignations" of those responsible for the accident, in order to meet "people's requests".

The protests against the shooting down of the flight of Ukraine International Airlines come a few months after the demonstrations of mid-November, triggered by a widespread discontent against expensive fuel, and repressed with force. According to some unconfirmed sources, about 1500 deaths were recorded even if the leaders of the Islamic Republic strongly deny the data and speak of "fake news".

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