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Witness In Iran Says Police Deliberately Ran Over Protesters

An Iranian opposition protester covers his face with his bloodstained hand during clashes with security forces in Tehran on December 27.
An Iranian opposition protester covers his face with his bloodstained hand during clashes with security forces in Tehran on December 27.
During gatherings to mark the Shi'ite holiday of Ashura on December 27, demonstrations by Iran's opposition Green movement were violently broken up by state security forces. Eight protesters were reported killed.

One man in Tehran, speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Farda correspondent Elahe Ravanshad on condition of anonymity, says he witnessed a police car deliberately running over a protester in the capital during the Ashura protests.

RFE/RL: You witnessed on Ashura day how a car, which you say belonged to the security forces, ran over a protester in Tehran. Please tell us what you saw and where you were exactly.

Witness in Tehran:
We were at Vali Asr Street, close to the Department of Commerce. I was one of those few who saw the accident. Some people were really excited , they said that we somehow conquered Vali Asr Street. Some of the people were shouting "Vali Asr has been freed" and "God is great." Someone climbed up the police kiosk with a green flag and started waving the flag and people were chanting "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein."

My sister was with me and I was worried about her and constantly looking around. I was careful not to lose her since it was so crowded. I climbed up a rise, looked around, and saw a group of motorbikes of the pressure groups. We were scared of them.

We ran to the crowd and told the rest of the people to run away. That day all the police forces and pressure groups were so aggressive and we were really afraid of them. People started to run away.

As my sister and I were running away, the square was almost empty. I suddenly heard something, looked back and saw one police van was driving toward the square at great speed.

I lifted my sister up to the platforms around Vali Asr Square. The van reached the square and tried to stop, but since it was driving at high speed , it hit the table around the square. The driver drove back. I saw another van was also coming toward the square. I just held my sister.

The second car came with so much speed toward the people. I was approximately 10 meters away from the scene. Some people as they ran tried to stop the car. I was shouting to warn people and trying to keep my sister from seeing what was happening.

Suddenly I saw someone fall down in front of the van and the car was going toward him. I was shouting, "Don't kill him, you killed him, stop...." People who were running also realized what was going to happen. Some of them were shouting, some were throwing things at the car. Suddenly I saw the car lean. I found out that the car ran over that person. Again the car drove back. I saw it myself.

I don't know if the person was still alive or not but I saw perfectly that the car ran over his chest. I believe he did this on purpose. The driver definitely wanted to run over someone. I believe that even if the first car didn't do so, it was just because he was afraid. Their mission was to run over people.

Then, again, for the third time he moved forward and ran over the body and again for the fourth time drove back and ran over him. It was a horrible scene. I am 30 years old and never ever thought that one scene can crush me like that. It was terrible. I turned back and wasn't able to stand anymore. [His voice breaks] I just sat down and started shouting: "Don't do it. You killed him. You killed him."

Afterwards, the first thing that came to my mind was to get my sister away from there. While we were running, I saw someone with a broken leg. He shouted: "Look at me. Help me." and I wasn't able, I didn't. [He cries] I just wanted to save my sister. After that I was so overwhelmed and can't recall what happened next.

RFE/RL: When did this incident take place?

I can't exactly say when the accident happened, but I think it was around 12:30, 12:35. I just saw this scene but one of my friends tells me that he saw the first van run over the man with the broken leg.

[Breaks into tears] Please don't let his right be the police force released a statement saying that no one was killed in Vali Asr Square.... I saw myself. Please don't let...this was more brutal and much worse than the killing scene of [Neda Agha Soltan]. You don't even run over an animal like that.

Please, I'm begging you; don't let this case be forgotten. If you do so, they will do the same thing over and over again and easily claim that it was an unintentional accident...just see how easily they deny that. They are saying that such a car doesn't even exist. Today I read on the "Tabnak" website that they claimed no one died in the Vali Asr Square and this story has been made up by foreign media.

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