Iranian protests enter 3rd day as injuries reported, internet disrupted

Security forces continued to face off with demonstrators, as some reports claimed that protests were violently suppressed.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, May 14, 2019 (photo credit: KHAMENEI.IR)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, May 14, 2019
(photo credit: KHAMENEI.IR)
Iranians continued protests in multiple cities throughout the country on Monday as students and citizens expressed anger at the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and the failure of the Iranian government to admit their involvement.
Security forces continued to face off with demonstrators, as some reports claimed that protests were violently suppressed. 
 
Several people were injured and others were arrested on Sunday night, according to Al-Arabiya. Security forces reportedly fired on protesters in Tehran on Sunday night, injuring at least one woman. Videos from the Iranian capital showed security forces storming protesters, as protests continued to spread to additional cities throughout the country.
Videos of protesters in Tehran tearing up pictures of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani have surfaced on Twitter. Another video showed protesters burning a billboard memorializing Soleimani.
 
Another video circulated on social media on Sunday night showed security forces beating protesting women in Sanandaj in Western Iran. Similar reports of security forces beating protesters appeared in other cities as well.
Protesters at the Isfahan Industrial University chanted, “Execution and imprisonment no longer scare us” on Monday, according to Radio Farda.
Demonstrators at the Kurdistan University chanted "“The IRGC is a disgrace” and “Death to the dictator,” according to the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), an Iranian opposition group.
Internet watchdog Netblocks tweeted that internet connectivity dropped at the Sharif University in Tehran on Monday amid protests, but that national connectivity remained stable. In protests in November, internet connection was shut off around the country for over four days. In December, amid attempts to renew the protests, the Iranian temporarily shut off internet connection in multiple locations for a short period.
Video circulated on social media showed protesters in the city of Eyvanekey attempting to burn the offices of the local Friday Prayer Imam, who serves as a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the city.
 
At least two reporters have resigned from Iran’s official Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in the aftermath of the crash, according to Newsweek.
IRIB presenter Zahra Khatami announced her departure on Saturday, saying she would “never again go back to television.” Fellow presenter Saba Rad also announced her departure that day.
Gelare Jabbari, who worked for IRIB in the past, wrote on Instagram, saying, “I’m sorry that I lied to you on Iranian television for 13 years. I left this job a few years ago and will never go back to television.”
At least 16 Iranian stage artists pulled out their plays from the film and theater Fajr Festival, because of the “recent attack on honesty.” Many others have also announced that they would pull out of the festival in mourning for the passengers killed on the downed flight. Several Iranian musicians have also cancelled planned concerts.
A group of Iranian cartoonists stated "We protest against recent events that claimed hundreds of Iranian lives and announce that we will not be present at the Fajr Festival," according to Radio Farda.
Hossein Karoubi, the son of a leader of Iran's opposition Green movement, was arrested on Monday, according to website Sahamnews.
 
Some reports claimed that security and intelligence agents called hundreds of students in Isfahan on Sunday and threatened them against continuing the protests, according to Radio Farda.
Videos circulated on social media showed Iranian students parting as they approached large US and Israeli flags, taking pains to avoid stepping on them. A few people who did walk over the flags were booed by protesters in the area with chants of "Shame on you."
When asked about whether she supported renewed protests in Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that she would love to see the “aspirations of the people of Iran realized with a better situation,” but that she would rather calm, not escalate, the situation.
US President Donald Trump, in a tweet on Sunday, urged Iranian leaders not to kill protesters, referring to protests in November when over a thousand protesters were killed and thousands more were injured and arrested.
Accusations of lethal force against protesters in Iran should be fully investigated, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, saying reports of violence against those protesting the downing of a civilian airliner were "worrying."
Videos circulated on social media on Sunday evening showed security forces firing tear gas at protesters in Tehran, as demonstrations blocked traffic in the city.
Protests swept through the country on Saturday and Sunday after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps admitted that it had shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all those on board, following an Iranian missile attack on US bases in Iraq. Sources told Iran International that civilian flights in the area were allowed to continue in order to provide a "human shield" against a possible US response.
Reuters contributed to this report.