Amateur video emerged on Saturday showing large protests in the central Iranian city of Hojedk. The footage showed protesters throwing stones at security officials and chanting “down with dictator”. (Dec. 30)
Two demonstrators were reportedly killed overnight as the Iranian government struggled to contain anti-government protests spreading throughout the country.
The deaths, which were reported Sunday by the semi-official Mehr news agency, marked the first time protesters were killed in the demonstrations that began Thursday over economic woes facing the country.
The fatalities occurred in protests in Doroud, a city about 200 miles southwest of Tehran, the Associated Press reported.
Hundreds of protesters have been arrested since Thursday, including 200 in Tehran on Saturday, according to Iranian media reports.
Iran’s government, meanwhile, attempted to undermine activists by limiting access to apps that had been used to organize or garner support for the protests.
Iran blocked access to Instagram and Telegram, a messaging app used by protesters to organize rallies.
“Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down… peacefully protesting channels” Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on Twitter.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, has not commented publicly on the reports from Iran.
President Trump weighed in Sunday for the second time. “Big protests in Iran,” Trump tweeted. “The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!”
He had earlier warned Tehran via Twitter, “The world is watching!”
The demonstrations were the largest in…