This story is from Human Rights Watch:
(Beirut) – Iranian security forces appear to be using excessive force against protests that emerged after an abrupt government increase in fuel prices across the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities have ordered the near-total shutdown of the internet. Occasional video footage of protests posted on social media amid the internet shutdown appear to show security forces directly shooting at protestors in different cities.
According to Iranian news outlets, protests erupted in more than 100 places across Iran on November 16 after the government announced a sharp increase in the price of gas the evening prior. Government sources have confirmed at least five deaths during the protests and the violent government crackdown, including one police officer, while Iranian human rights groups estimate dozens more casualties; Amnesty International states that more than 100 protesters are believed killed. Fars News agency, which is close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported that as of November 17 authorities arrested 1,000 people and more that 100 banks have been damaged in this period. The national security council has also ordered the shutdown of country’s internet since the evening of November 15. While some news agencies and government offices appear to have regained access to internet, ordinary Iranians are still largely cut off from the global network, with network connectivity at a staggering 4 percent of the normal level as of November 19.
“Authorities are brutally repressing Iranians who are frustrated with an autocratic, abusive government and its policies and who bear the brunt of negative economic consequences of renewed US sanctions,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “By severing Iranians from global internet connectivity, the authorities are hoping to hide their bloody crackdown on their own people from the rest of the world.”
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