Iran protests draw tear gas, live bullets after plane shot down

Thousands of demonstrators in cities across Iran faced tear gas and accused security forces of firing live ammunition as police aggressively countered intensifying protests prompted by the shoot-down of a Ukrainian commercial jet.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran posted video of crowds fleeing tear gas clouds in Tehran’s Freedom Square on Sunday night. Another video showed a bloodied woman saying she had been hit with a bullet fired by police.

Demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans including “They are lying that our enemy is America. Our enemy is right here!”

Gen. Hossein Rahimi, denied claims his officers opened fire, saying only that tear gas was fired “in some areas.” The claims come after security forces were accused of opening fire on demonstrators during protests over fuel price hikes in November, when hundreds reportedly died in clashes with police.

“Police treated people who had gathered with patience and tolerance,” Rahimi told Iranian media.

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