Videos of Iran's violent crackdown on protesters have surfaced online immediately after the government lifted its week-long internet blackout.
The protests - which began on Nov.15 after a petrol price hike was announced - quickly escalated into violence and censorship. Three days into the protests, Iran imposed a near-total internet and mobile data shutdown.
More than 143 protesters are believed to have been killed in the government crackdown on demonstrators across the country, Amnesty International reported this week. Gruesome videos recently shared on social media platforms reveal the extent to which force was used against protesters. In several videos uploaded on Twitter, security forces can be seen violently attacking, shooting, and killing hundreds of protesters in cities across Iran.
"The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life," said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
After digging deep into the videos and speaking to eyewitnesses on the ground, Amnesty International confirmed the authorities' use of force against protesters in Iran in a report published earlier this month.
There has been a "harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices," the non-governmental organization said.
The regime cut access to the internet to block locals' connection to the outside world and the world's visibility into what is happening in the country. Experts have called it the most severe internet shutdown "in terms of its technical complexity and breadth." People in the city of Tehran slowly began regaining internet access as of Nov. 25. Soon after, videos of the government crackdown on protesters emerged.
However, access to the internet is still highly restricted in the country, according to data from Netblocks, an NGO that monitors internet governance.
In several videos, security forces can be seen shooting crowds of protesters and severely beating them with iron rods.
Amnesty International verified a number of videos in which unarmed protesters can be seen getting shot at from a short distance. In other cases, protesters were shot while running away when they "clearly posed no threat to security forces."
In another video, shared by Amnesty, security forces can be seen shooting at protesters from rooftops of state buildings.
The organization gave a breakdown of the death toll in various provinces across Iran. The Khuzestan province witnessed the highest number of deaths during the ongoing protests (40), followed by Kermanshah province (34).
The Center for Human Rights in Iran estimated that at least 4,000 people were detained during the protests in the country.