Iran was facing a renewed crisis with authorities using teargas to break up a second straight day of protests in Tehran and demonstrations spreading to other cities, as the nation’s leadership struggled to contain public anger over the Iranian military are shooting down of a commercial airliner with 176 people on board.
Britain also found itself caught up in the furore as pro-regime protesters set alight a union jack flag in front of the UK embassy in Tehran after the British ambassador was briefly detained the night before and accused of coordinating protests, which he denies.
Chanting 'death to Britain', up to 200 protesters including members of a pro-regime paramilitary organisation rallied outside the mission calling for it to be closed a day after Rob Macaire was arrested. He was later summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry.
Despite a heavy security presence, small protests flared up at several universities in Tehran throughout Sunday against both the shooting down of the Ukraine International Airlines jet last Wednesday and the subsequent days of official denials that an Iranian missile was responsible.
'They tell us the lie that it is America, but our enemy is right here,' a crowd shouted at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, and compared the Revolutionary Guards and their paramilitary allies to Islamic State. 'You’re our Isis,' they said.
As the sun went down, columns of security vans, including some fitted with cages, were seen streaming towards Tehran’s Azadi Square. Several hundred protesters also made their way there, marching through subway stations and along streets, singing revolutionary anthems and chanting, 'death to the dictator’.
Later footage showed flood lights illuminating teargas in the air and protesters wearing clothes across their mouths as they continued to chant anti-regime slogans. 'They fired teargas in the Azadi subway station,' said a man in one clip. 'No one can get out, everybody is getting suffocated.' Another video from Tehran showed a trail of blood on the sidewalk. 'I saw seven people shot,' said a male voice. 'There is blood everywhere.'