Witness name and surname: Withheld

Sex: Male

The place about which he is testifying: Mashhad

Witness status: Witnessed to the beating of people

Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld  


On Friday 15 November, {around 6 or 7 p.m.} we went to join the protests with a group of friends. We passed through Kowsar Street and headed towards Bahonar Boulevard. We got off the car at the one end of Bahonar Blvd. and went towards the crowd on Vakilabad Blvd. About 100 people had gathered there, with men outnumbering women. Most protesters were between 20 to 40 years old. There were some elderly individuals as well. The crowd barely chanted any slogan. They were sitting in the middle of Vakilabad Blvd. and cars were behind them.

There were many security forces around, including the special forces and plain clothes police officers. The IRGC forces surrounded people. They wore khaki-coloured military uniforms for camouflage. Their faces were not covered. The special forces were riding motorbikes, wore black clothes and protective gears, and their faces were covered. The infantry held shields and batons. The plain clothes officers carried handguns. The police colonels held batons, tasers and handguns, and their faces were not covered.

A police major or colonel tried to calm the protesters. People chanted “Police, Support Us, Support Us.” The police couldn’t calm the situation, and suddenly the special forces on heavy motorbikes attacked the people. We were sitting in the middle of the boulevard. They suddenly stormed towards us. People panicked and rose up. The security forces hit them in the head and neck with batons. My friend next to me was struck in the arm. The day after, his family took him to the hospital. His arm was cracked. There were many security forces; they outnumbered protesters. People rushed to sidewalks. They could not run as fast as motor police; some of them could not cross the road and toppled to the ground and got crushed by the crowd. I was one of the first who could get to the sidewalk, but I noticed that a number of people behind me fell on the ground on the sidewalk. I don’t know if they were arrested {or not}. The security forces hit people and left them on the ground. They didn’t care. {Other security forces} were watching from the distance. I saw a number of police colonels shooting people with tasers. The IRGC forces fired two or three times in the air, but they didn’t shoot at people as far as I remember.

After driving away people from Vakilabad Boulevard, security forces attacked with batons and tasers to disperse them. There were a few women with us on Vakilabad Blvd.; when the police were chasing us, they lagged behind and were struck with batons. An old man was hit with batons in the arm. Security forces smashed the windows of cars parked or stopped on Vakilabad Blvd. If the drivers objected, they would arrest them. I saw a couple of these incidents; they smashed the window of an automobile, arrested its driver and put him in the police car; then a soldier drove the automobile to the other side of the street. I saw that some people, who stood farther away, were shot with tasers and fell down. We helped hurt people stand up and walk to the sidewalks. We were all shocked at how quickly they attacked people. That day, many demonstrators were detained. If security forces found someone alone, or if a protester dared to approach them, they would attack and hold him. We saw them handcuffing the people, and taking them towards the prison vans. They probably put the detainees in those vans and took them away. Finding that the situation was getting worse and many were arrested, we left. 

On our way towards Pirouzi Blvd. from Hor Squre to Kowsar Square on Saremi Blvd. there were over twenty black military vehicles, pickups, military SUVs, police cars, anti-riot vehicles and water cannons; in each, there were 7 or 8 officers dressed in special clothes. The vehicles were parked in rows on Saremi Blvd. The security forces were ready to arrest people after their dispersion. The wore black clothes and their faces were covered. They were special forces.

{The protests} lasted only one day. Over the next days, small groups of people had gathered to protest but they were all arrested after being severely repressed by security forces.

On 16 November, at sunset, we returned to the protest site with a group of friends and found that there was no gathering. Many people, even more than usual, were present, but they were not assembled. There were many plain clothes officers. We could distinguish them by their tactical boots, walkie talkies, and guns. They wore {clothes} like ordinary people. They stood in groups of five, close to each other, in the same place the protest had taken place the night before; those around them were also dressed in plainclothes. There were also special forces, IRGC forces and border guards; The latter were on the bridge extending from Bahonar Blvd. to Emamat Blvd.; they wore a badge around their arms which identified them as border guards. They wore khaki military uniforms and were there in place of main officers. They carried batons and guns. On the one end of Emamat Boulevard, the special forces on motorbikes were watching. Their number, I think, amounted to 15 to 20. They had batons and handguns, and their faces were covered. The IRGC forces wore plain clothes and did not cover their faces. They stood there in groups of five and their walkie talkies were visible. Finding that no protest was going to happen, we returned home. However, we heard that a number of people were violently beaten on Sajjad Blvd., as soon as the protest had broken out, the security forces suppressed them. I don’t know if anybody was killed there or not.

I would like to add also that we have no news of one of our acquaintances. He lived in our neighbourhood and participated in the protests, but he has disappeared.