Ten people killed in night of Iran protests violence, state TV reports

Ten people killed in night of Iran protests violence, state TV reportsAt least ten people were killed during protests in Iran on Sunday night, according to state media, as the death toll from the country’s largest demonstrations since 2009 continued to rise.  Six people were killed in the western town of Tuyserkan after shots were fired, state television reported, while a local MP said two people had been shot dead in the southwestern town of Izeh. It was not clear whether they were killed by security forces or protesters.  Two others, included a teenage boy, were run down and killed by a fire engine stolen by protesters in the western town of Dorud, a flashpoint for the protests, the state broadcaster said Two other people were killed by security forces in Dorud on Saturday, putting the official death toll at at least at 12, but the real figures may be higher.   State television also claimed that protesters were trying to storm into police stations and government offices across the country. "Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces," the broadcaster said. #BREAKING: Protesters in Iran storming headquarters of Revolutionary Guards in Ahvaz (@Othmanbay) pic.twitter.com/IjD9xIjmcN— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) January 1, 2018 Unverified footage on social media purported to show protesters storming a Revolutionary Guard office in the southwestern city of Ahvaz and pulling down a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. The killings came despite President Hassan Rouhani calling for calm and vowing more "space for criticism” in a televised address on Sunday.  "The people are absolutely free in expressing their criticisms and even protests," Mr Rouhani said on state television. "But criticism is different to violence and destroying public property.” Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president, warned protesters against violence The demonstrations began on Thursday in the northeastern city of Mashhad, largely over the rising cost of living, but quickly spread to other cities and became more explicitly critical of Mr Rouhani and of Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s unelected supreme leader.   Demonstrators in cities across the country have torn down billboards showing Ayatollah Khamenei’s face amid chants of “death to the dictator”.  Donald Trump, the US president, has been vocal of his criticism of Iran since the protests began and last night tweeted about reports that the Iranian government had cut internet access in Tehran as the protests spread.  “Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!” Watching events in Iran with concern. Vital that citizens should have the right to demonstrate peacefully.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 31, 2017 Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said he was “watching events in Iran with concern. Vital that citizens should have the right to demonstrate peacefully.”  Hedayatollah Khademi, the MP for Izeh, said that two people had been shot to death during demonstrations on Sunday.  "People of Izeh, like some other cities, held a protest against economic problems and unfortunately it led to the killing of two people and injuries to some others," he told the ILNA news agency. "I do not know yet whether last night's shooting was by the protesters or by police," he added. While Iran’s security forces showed relative restraint in the first 48 hours of the protests, they have grown more aggressive since the protests spread on Sunday.  Videos posted on social media showed police on motorbikes driving into crowds and attacking demonstrators with batons.  #Iran: peaceful but brave protesters in the city of #Karaj are assaulted by regime forces on motorcycles but refuse to run away. #IranProtestspic.twitter.com/rfLlcWmNdw— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) December 30, 2017 Demonstrators are angry over corruption and economic hardship in a country where youth unemployment reached 28.8 per cent last year. Police in the centre of Tehran fired water cannon on Sunday to try to disperse demonstrators, according to pictures on social media. Demonstrations turned violent in Shahin Shahr in central Iran. Videos showed protesters attacking the police, turning over a car and setting it on fire. There were also reports of demonstrations in the western cities of Sanandaj and Kermanshah as well as Chabahar in the southeast and Ilam and Izeh in the southwest.

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