Iran previously denied claims that the country had targeted the plane, however admitted the mistake on Saturday. Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei expressed “deep sympathy” to the victims but did not apologise.
The protests, which began as vigils to mourn the victims of the crash, quickly turned into mass anti-government demonstrations, with videos emerging on social media of participants chanting: “They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here,” and “[Supreme Leader] Khamenei have shame. Leave the country”.
A number of Iranian newspapers have covered the vigils for the plane victims with headlines such as “Shame” and “Unforgivable”.
As pubic fury raged on Sunday, Iranian riot police used tear gas to disperse protesters on-mass in Tehran’s Azadi and Vali e Asr squares. Despite Tehran’s police chief assuring state broadcasters that officers did not fire on protests and were ordered to “show restraint”, footage posted on social media had recorded the sound of gunshots and showed pools of blood. Members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also helped supress the protests on motorbikes.
The videos verified by The Associated Press, with one showing a crowd of demonstrators fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them.
Small counter-protests in support of Khamenei also took place over the weekend, with dozens of hard-liners gathered outside the British Embassy in Tehran chanting “Death to England” whilst burning British, American and Israeli flags. Iranian state media further reported that members of the Basij militia, affiliated to the IRGC, joined government supporters outside the British embassy calling for it to be closed down.