Tag Archives: ‘rioters’

Jan. 6 rioters acted on Trump’s direct orders, prosecutors say as they wrap their case for impeachment

House prosecutors concluded two days of emotional arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial  late Thursday, insisting the Capitol invaders believed they were acting on “the president’s orders” to stop Joe Biden’s election

The prosecutors argued the defeated president’s pattern of spreading false and violent rhetoric will continue to vex American politics if left unchecked.

The prosecutors described in stark, personal terms the horror they faced that day, some of it in the very Senate chamber where Trump’s trial is underway. They displayed the many public and explicit instructions Trump gave his supporters — long before the White House rally that unleashed the deadly Capitol attack as Congress was certifying Biden’s victory.

Five people died in the chaos and its aftermath, a domestic attack unparalleled in U.S. history.

Videos of rioters, some posted to social medial by themselves, talked about how they were doing it all for Trump.

The House of Representatives has charged Trump, a Republican, with inciting an insurrection.

WATCH | Democrats use Republican officials’ own words condemning Trump’s complicity to make their case:

House manager Joe Neguse used Republicans’ video statements about Trump’s involvement in encouraging the riot to further the Democrats’ argument that he incited violence. 2:08

“We were invited here,” said one rioter. “Trump sent us,” said another. “He’ll be happy. We’re fighting for Trump.” Five people died.

“They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders,” said Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado. “The president told them to be there.”

She went on to say, “This was not a hidden crime. The president told them to be there, so they actually believed they would face no punishment.”


U.S. House impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado quotes the words of the insurrectionists and rioters at the U.S. Capitol about their motivations at former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Thursday. (U.S. Senate TV/Handout via Reuters)

The prosecutors drew a direct line from his repeated comments condoning and even celebrating violence — praising “both sides” after the 2017 outbreak at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — and urging his rally crowd last month to go to the Capitol and fight for his presidency. He spread false claims about election fraud, even there has been no evidence of it, and urged his supporters to “stop the steal” of the presidency.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said that the litany of examples showed “obvious intent” as Trump told his supporters to come to Washington, and then to “fight like hell” just before they laid siege to the U.S. Capitol.

Raskin showed clips of Trump encouraging violence and also sanctioning violence afterward — including his telling a crowd to “knock the crap out of” a protester at one of his speeches. He told the crowd that he would pay their legal fees if they did. Another clip showed him saying it was “very, very appropriate” when some of his supporters attacked a protester at a Trump event. “That’s what we need a little bit more of,” Trump said.

‘Trump would do it again’

And, said Raskin, Trump would do it again if he were elected in the future. “Is there any politician leader in this room who believes if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?” he asked.

“Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”

In urging senators to convict Trump, Raskin said Trump knew that if he egged them on, “his most extreme followers would show up bright and early, ready to attack, ready to engage in violence, ready to fight like hell for their hero.”

WATCH | Capitol staffers describe hiding amid gunfire:

House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline plays video at Trump’s impeachment trial of two staffers who recount what it was like to be hiding in the U.S. Capitol as rioters gained access and shots were fired on Jan. 6. 1:19

Raskin implored senators in his closing speech Thursday to exercise “common sense about what just took place in our country” and find Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection.  

He said senators have the power under the Constitution to find Trump guilty of having betrayed the oath of office the nation’s founders wrote into the Constitution.

Another impeachment manager warned senators that acquitting Trump could have lasting consequences for the country. Rep. Joe Neguse said that “if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again.”

Trump team arguments begin tomorrow

Trump’s lawyers will launch their defence on Friday. They are expected to argue that his words were protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment and just a figure of speech.

According to Trump senior adviser Jason Miller, they are planning to begin and wrap up their defence in his impeachment trial in less than a day, using far fewer than their allotted argument hours.

The House managers spent much of Wednesday recounting the events that led to the riot and highlighting the threat to former vice-president Mike Pence.

‘Hang Mike Pence’

Senators on Wednesday were shown searing security footage the pro-Trump mob stalking the Capitol hallways chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” and searching for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Previously unseen videos showed the view from inside the Capitol as rioters smashed windows and fought with police, coming within 30 metres of the room where Pence was sheltering with his family. The mob had set up a gallows outside.

WATCH | A recap of Wednsday’s presentation by the impeachment managers:

The Democrats used never-before-seen footage of the Capitol Hill riots as they laid out their case that the attackers were incited by the former president. 3:34

The footage, which also included body-camera views of brutal attacks on Capitol police, showed Pence and lawmakers being hustled to safety steps ahead of an advancing mob. Five people who were at the Capitol died that day, including a police officer and a woman who was fatally shot by Capitol Police.

Trump had repeatedly said Pence had the power to stop the certification of the election results, even though he did not.

“The mob was looking for Vice-President Pence,” Representative Stacey Plaskett said, narrating footage that showed the crowd threatening Pence and searching for Pelosi.

Trump singled out targets

“President Trump put a target on their backs and then his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” she said.

Democrats face a difficult task in securing a Senate conviction and barring Trump from ever again seeking public office. A two-thirds majority in the Senate must vote to convict, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to defy Trump and his continued popularity among Republican voters.


“I am holding out hope that the forcefulness of this argument will still sway some. I believe there are more Republicans that are open to conviction than is publicly clear at this point,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons.

But while several Republican senators said the footage showed on Wednesday was emotional, many added it did not change their minds.

“I didn’t see a case there that a prosecutor can make in court against the president,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt said.

“Today’s presentation was powerful and emotional, reliving a terrorist attack on our nation’s capital, but there was very little said about how specific conduct of the president satisfies a legal standard,” added Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

By Thursday, senators sitting through a second full day of arguments appeared somewhat fatigued, slouching in their chairs, crossing their arms and walking around to stretch.

Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said during a break: “To me, they’re losing credibility the longer they talk.”

Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after leaving office. His first impeachment trial, which stemmed from his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, ended in an acquittal a year ago in what was then a Republican-controlled Senate.

WATCH | Previously unseen Jan. 6 footage shown at Senate trial:

Security video played Wednesday during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial shows a Capitol Police officer directing Sen. Mitt Romney away from the rioters who had breached the building. 0:45

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U.S. Congress confirms Biden’s win after pro-Trump rioters storm Capitol

Pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

Congress returned later Wednesday after the Capitol was cleared by law enforcement and has now formally certified Biden’s election victory.

Here are the latest developments, including a pledge from the U.S. president — who has for months refused to concede and made baseless allegations of voter fraud — promising an “orderly transition” on Jan. 20.

3:55 a.m. ET: U.S. President Donald Trump said there “will be an orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying president-elect Joe Biden’s victory and after a day of violence when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Trump said in a statement tweeted by his social media director Dan Scavino: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

He went on: “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”

Trump’s account is currently locked by Twitter.

Trump has spent the last two months refusing to concede the election and making baseless allegations of mass voter fraud that have been rejected by dozens of courts and Republican officials, including his former attorney general.

Vice-President Mike Pence presided over the formal session that ended early Thursday morning tallying the electoral college vote.

WATCH | U.S. Congress validates Biden-Harris win:

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence announced the certification of the electoral college vote, confirming Joe Biden’s presidential election victory and Kamala Harris as vice-president. 0:49

3:41 a.m. ET: U.S. Congress formally validated Joe Biden’s presidential election victory on a day that saw a time-honoured ceremony become a nightmare of political terror. 

The House and Senate certified the Democrat’s electoral college win early Thursday after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot, windows were bashed and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol Police.

The rampage began shortly after President Donald Trump repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he’d invited to Washington. Many then surged to the Capitol after he incited them to go there as lawmakers debated the electoral votes.

More than six hours after the violence erupted, lawmakers resumed their session.

Thirteen Republican senators and dozens of Republican representatives had planned to force debate and votes on perhaps six different states’ votes. The assault on the Capitol made some Republicans squeamish about trying to overturn Biden’s win, and challenges were lodged only against Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both efforts lost overwhelmingly.

Biden defeated Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

WATCH | See how the siege on the U.S. Capitol unfolded: 

CBC News’ David Common breaks down what happened on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and how U.S. President Donald Trump stoked discontent among his supporters before he lost the election. 3:44

3:25 a.m. ET: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz defended his objection to the electoral college results as “the right thing to do.” The Texas senator condemned the violence that erupted as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an extraordinary attack over the election outcome.

Cruz led the first challenge to Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump by objecting to Arizona’s results. He sought to have Congress launch a commission to investigate the election. His effort was roundly defeated in the House and Senate.

Cruz said he was confident the country will have a “peaceful and orderly transition of power.”

3:10 a.m. ET: The House joined the Senate in turning aside Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for president-elect Joe Biden. Lawmakers in the House voted 282-138 against the objection as the counting of electoral college votes continued into the early hours of Thursday morning. The Senate shut down the same objection 92-7 just after midnight, and unlike the House, declined to debate before voting.

After a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it was the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some Republican lawmakers have backed President Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

2:20 a.m. ET: A small group of House lawmakers confronted each other early Thursday morning as the congressional count of electoral votes stretched into the wee hours and a Pennsylvania Democrat charged that Republicans had been telling “lies” about his state’s votes.

Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Republican from Virginia., objected after Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said a breach of the Capitol by an angry mob earlier in the day was “inspired by lies, the same lies you are hearing in this room tonight.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the objection, but a few minutes later Republicans and Democrats streamed to the middle aisle, with around a dozen lawmakers getting close to each other and arguing. But the group quickly broke up when Pelosi called for order on the floor.

President Donald Trump has falsely claimed there was widespread fraud in Pennsylvania and other states and Republicans have echoed those claims as they have challenged electoral votes.

WATCH | What happens to Trumpism after Trump? 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s term is almost over, but many expect his brash style of politics, which has come to be known as Trumpism, to be present in the Republican party long after he’s gone. 7:25

12:55 a.m. ET: The Senate quickly killed Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for president-elect Joe Biden.

Senators voted 92-7 after midnight to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged. That means Congress’s formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.

The Senate rejected the effort to cancel Pennsylvania’s votes without any debate.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

12:15 a.m. ET: Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, triggering up to two hours of debate in the House and Senate.

The objections come 11 hours after the congressional count to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory began, and after lawmakers had to evacuate both chambers for several hours to escape a mob that had violently breached the Capitol.

Hawley said last week that he would object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, saying Congress should investigate voter fraud. President Donald Trump has falsely said since his defeat that there was widespread fraud in the election.

Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 80,000 votes. Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his allies filed at least a half-dozen lawsuits challenging Biden’s win on various grounds, including that many or all of the state’s mail-in ballots were illegal.

The lawsuits failed as judge after judge found no violation of state law or constitutional rights, or no grounds to grant an immediate halt to certifying the election.


A man carries a Confederate battle flag inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defences. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)

11:20 p.m. ET Wednesday: The House voted overwhelmingly to reject an objection to president-elect Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.

The objection failed 303-121 on Wednesday night, with only Republicans voting in support.

Earlier Wednesday, supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing a lockdown of the lawmakers and staff inside. Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to Biden, though election officials have said there wasn’t any.

Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the states that have objections.

11:10 p.m. ET Wednesday: Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol. Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”

Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.

The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.

D.C. police officials also said two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.

Have questions about what’s happening in U.S. politics? Send us an email at ask@cbc.ca

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Police secure U.S. Capitol after pro-Trump rioters cause bedlam at heart of government

The latest:

Heavily armed police have secured the U.S. Capitol nearly four hours after supporters of President Donald Trump pushed past barricades and forced themselves inside the complex on Wednesday, amid violent clashes that killed at least one person.

Trump had urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’s formal approval of president-elect Joe Biden’s win in the general election, pushing unfounded claims that the election was stolen.

An announcement saying “the Capitol is secure” rang out Wednesday evening inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applauded, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the government intended to resume counting electoral votes later Wednesday.

Washington police said at least one woman was shot inside the Capitol and died later at an area hospital. It was not immediately clear how she was shot.


Members of the D.C. National Guard are deployed outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Protesters deployed “chemical irritants on police” to gain access to the complex, Chief Robert Contee said. Several police officers were injured.

At least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far, Contee said.

An explosive device was found nearby, but law enforcement officials said Wednesday afternoon it was no longer a threat.

Outside, as darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials worked their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.

Police in full riot gear moved down the west steps, clashing with demonstrators.

The Pentagon said about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement.

WATCH | Police push back U.S. Capitol protesters:

Thousands of people protested at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., crashing through barricades and climbing the steps as Congress voted to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. 2:05

A spokesperson told The Associated Press that officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents were being sent to the scene. He said they were requested to assist by U.S. Capitol Police.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. ET curfew, but early in the evening dozens of pro-Trump supporters remained on the streets of the nation’s capital.

Jaw-dropping images

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, chambers abruptly recessed as dozens of people breached security perimeters and lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the rotunda.

A chaplain prayed as police guarded the doors to the chamber and lawmakers tried to gather information about what was happening.

Protesters made it inside the Senate chamber. One got up on the dais and yelled “Trump won that election.” Several dozen were roaming through the halls, yelling, “Where are they?” Some were also in the visitors’ galleries.

Pictures emerged of an armed standoff in the House as politicians cowered behind desks and people smashed the building’s windows and climbed in. Newsmax showed footage of police and rioters squaring off in the Capitol rotunda.

WATCH | Pro-Trump protesters storm barricades at U.S. Capitol:

Heavily armed police have secured the U.S. Capitol nearly four hours after supporters of President Donald Trump pushed past barricades and forced themselves inside the complex on Wednesday, amid violent clashes at the heart of the U.S. government. 1:06

The parade of jaw-dropping images continued: a man in a Make America Great Again hat, his feet up on Pelosi’s desk, another striding through the rotunda with a Confederate flag over his shoulder, the dais occupied by a man with a Trump flag as a cape.

Outside, as police sirens echoed and helicopters pulsed overhead, thousands upon thousands of others massed on the Capitol steps cheered and celebrated news of the breach, waving flags, firing flares and popping smoke grenades from atop the balcony.

The skirmishes outside occurred in the very spot where Biden will be inaugurated in just two weeks.

Protesters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were met by officers in riot gear.

Some tried to push past the officers who held shields, and officers could be seen firing pepper spray into the crowd. Some in the crowd were shouting “traitors” as officers tried to keep them back.

The skirmishes came shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud at a rally near the White House on Wednesday ahead of Congress’s vote.

“We will not let them silence your voices,” Trump told the protesters, who had lined up before sunrise to get a prime position to hear the president. 

After the Capitol was first breached, Trump encouraged supporters in a tweet to “remain peaceful,” but didn’t call for them to disperse.

‘Unprecedented assault’ 

Biden, who said U.S. democracy was under “unprecedented assault,” called on Trump to go on national television and demand an end to “this siege.”

Shortly afterward, Trump released a video on Twitter that repeated false statements about the election being stolen, but also told protesters to “go home now.”

WATCH | CBC reporter mobbed by angry Trump supporters in Washington:

Senior correspondent Katie Nicholson and her videographer were verbally accosted and jostled as the team reported from the streets of Washington. 0:45

Vice-President Mike Pence had earlier called on protesters to leave immediately.

In a tweet Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concern about the violent scenes.

“Obviously we’re concerned and we’re following the situation minute by minute,” Trudeau told the Vancouver radio station News 1130. “I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly.”


Elsewhere in the U.S., Trump supporters massed outside statehouses from Georgia to New Mexico, leading to some evacuations as cheers rang out in reaction to the news that pro-Trump demonstrators had stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Hundreds of people gathered in state capitals across the country, waving signs saying “Stop the Steal” and “Four more years,” most of them not wearing masks despite the coronavirus pandemic. A few carried long guns in places like Oklahoma and Georgia.

New Mexico state police evacuated staff from a Statehouse building that includes the governor’s office and the secretary of state’s office as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback.


Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol amid Wednesday’s violent protests in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/The Associated Press)

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Iran state TV says ‘rioters’ were shot and killed amid recent gas price protests

Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged security forces shot and killed what it described as “rioters” in multiple cities amid recent protests over the spike in government-set gasoline prices — the first time that authorities have offered any sort of accounting for the violence they used to put down the demonstrations.

The acknowledgment came in a television package that criticized international Farsi-language channels for their reporting on the crisis, which began on Nov. 15.

Amnesty International said Monday it believes at least 208 people were killed in the protests and the crackdown that followed. Iran’s mission to the United Nations disputed Amnesty’s findings early Tuesday, though it offered no evidence to support its claim.

Iran has yet to release any nationwide statistics over the unrest that gripped the Islamic Republic with minimum prices for government-subsidized gasoline rising by 50 per cent.


People walk past buildings on Nov. 20 that were burned during recent protests, in Shahriar, Iran. Amnesty International says at least 208 people were killed. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

Iran shut down internet access amid the unrest, blocking those inside the country from sharing their videos and information, as well as limiting the outside world from knowing the scale of the protests and violence. The restoration of the internet in recent days across much of the country has seen other videos surface.

“We’ve seen over 200 people killed in a very swift time, in under a week,” said Mansoureh Mills, an Iran researcher at Amnesty. “It’s something pretty unprecedented event in the history of the human rights violations in the Islamic Republic.”

Crushing sanctions

While not drawing as many Iranians into the streets as those protesting the disputed 2009 presidential election, the gasoline price demonstrations rapidly turned violent faster than any previous rallies. That shows the widespread economic discontent gripping the country since May 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

The state TV report sought to describe killings in four categories, alleging some of those killed were “rioters who have attacked sensitive or military centres with firearms or knives, or have taken hostages in some areas.” The report described others killed as passersby, security forces and peaceful protesters, without assigning blame for their deaths.

In one case, the report said security forces confronted a separatist group in the city of Mahshahr armed with “semi-heavy weapons.”

“For hours, armed rioters had waged an armed struggle,” the report alleged. “In such circumstances, security forces took action to save the lives of Mahshahr’s people.”

‘Dozens of deaths’

Mahshahr in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province was believed to be hard-hit in the crackdown. The surrounding oil-rich province’s Arab population long has complained of discrimination by Iran’s central government and insurgent groups have attacked area oil pipelines in the past there. Online videos purportedly from the area showed peaceful protests, as well as clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

State TV separately acknowledged confronting “rioters” in Tehran, as well as in the cities of Shiraz and Sirjan. It also mentioned Shahriar, a suburb of Tehran where Amnesty on Monday said there had been “dozens of deaths.” It described the suburb as likely one of the areas with the highest toll of those killed in the unrest. Shahriar has seen heavy protests.

Amnesty offered no breakdown for the deaths elsewhere in the country, though it said “the real figure is likely to be higher.” Mills said there was a “general environment of fear inside of Iran at the moment.”

“The authorities have been threatening families, some have been forced to sign undertakings that they won’t speak to the media,” she said. “Families have been forced to bury their loved ones at night under heavy security presence.”

Authorities visiting hospitals

Authorities also have been visiting hospitals, looking for patients with gunshot wounds or other injuries from the unrest, Mills said. She alleged that authorities then immediately detain those with the suspicious wounds.

Iran’s UN mission in New York called Amnesty’s findings “unsubstantiated,” without elaborating.

“A number of exile groups (and media networks) have either taken credit for instigating both ordinary people to protest and riots, or have encouraged lawlessness and vandalism, or both,” said Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesperson at the mission.

The demonstrations began after authorities raised minimum gasoline prices by 50 per cent to 15,000 Iranian rials per litre. That’s 12 cents a litre. After a monthly 60-litre quota, it costs 30,000 rials a litre. That’s nearly 24 cents a litre. 

Cheap gas almost a birthright

Cheap gasoline is practically considered a birthright in Iran, home to the world’s fourth-largest crude oil reserves despite decades of economic woes since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Gasoline there remains among the cheapest in the world, in part to help keep costs low for its underemployed, who often drive taxis to make ends meet.

Iran’s per capita gross domestic product, often used as a rough sense of a nation’s standard of living, is just over $ 6,000 US, compared with over $ 62,000 in the U.S., according to the World Bank. That disparity, especially given Iran’s oil wealth, fuelled the anger felt by demonstrators.

Already, Iranians have seen their savings chewed away by the rial’s collapse from 32,000 to $ 1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear accord to 126,000 to $ 1 today. Daily staples also have risen in price.

The scale of the demonstrations also remains unclear. One Iranian lawmaker said he thought that over 7,000 people had been arrested, although Iran’s top prosecutor disputed the figure without offering his own.

Meanwhile, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a long-detained opposition leader in Iran, compared the recent crackdown by security forces on protesters to soldiers who in the time of Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi gunned down demonstrators in an event that led to the Islamic Revolution. His comparison raised the rhetorical stakes surrounding the latest unrest.

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