Initial Reports Show Thousands Arrested in Iran’s Crackdown on November Protests

In the wake of preliminary reports suggesting that thousands of people were arrested in the Iranian government’s crackdown on mass protests that broke out across the country in November 2019, there are grave concerns that detainees are being denied due process while state officials smear them as “rioters” and “saboteurs.” Eight days after protests erupted across dozens of Iranian cities following a gasoline price hike announcement, no Iranian official has provided a credible current estimate of the total number of people who’ve been arrested so far. As of November 22, initial figures that the Center for Human Rights in Iran’s (CHRI) was able to collect from officials cited in state media reports and individuals inside Iran indicated 2,755 individuals were arrested, but multiple sources involved in gathering information about the arrests throughout Iran told CHRI that their estimates surpassed 4000 arrests and were growing daily. In many cities, because of the internet shut down in the country, news blackout and officials’ refusal to share information about the arrests, the number of arrests has not been reported. Given the protests in many cities and the reports confirming the use of state violence and mass arrests, it’s expected that the overall number will grow. Many observers believe the actual numbers may well be significantly higher. On November 19, Amnesty International citing “credible reports,” stated that at least 106 people had died in the protests, which state security forces violently repressed according to reports by eyewitnesses as well as video and pictures shared on social media networks.
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