Two years ago, on this day, hundreds of thousands of people flooded onto the streets in more than 200 cities across Iran, protesting gas price hikes. Authorities first tried to quell protests with deceitful claims and laid blame on each other, which prompted public hatred and anger against the entire religious tyranny.
In this respect, defiant youths attacked oppressive, intelligence, and plundering centers across the country. Later, the Chair of the Parliament (Majlis) National Security Commission, Mojtaba Zonnour, exposed the actual dimension of protests.
“Some 497 government centers and private sector buildings were damaged due to destruction, fire, and explosion,” said Zonnour in an interview with Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) on June 1, 2020. “Around 194 government and public centers were targeted aside from the damaged buildings. Also, ‘991 banks’ were damaged or set ablaze.”
During their protests, defiant youths indeed responded to the government’s 42 years of suppression and corruption. They only targeted government centers, including those affiliated with the IRGC terrorist organization, Basij paramilitary forces, and security forces, who mercilessly cracked down on protesters with live ammunition.
They also attacked financial institutions tied to the state or to the IRGC, which have plundered millions of people’s money and played critical roles in expanding poverty and misery in Iran.
On the other hand, following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s order on November 17, oppressive forces did “whatever it takes” to end the nationwide protest. IRGC forces used armored vehicles, heavy machineguns, snipers, and even helicopters to gun down more than 1,500 defenseless demonstrators, including teenagers, women, and even bystanders.
Furthermore, authorities arbitrarily arrested over 12,000 people in various cities. Many detainees were subjected to inhuman tortures and heinous ill-treatment.
“Widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care,” Amnesty International reported on September 2, 2020.
“Hundreds subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges; death sentences issued based on torture-tainted ‘confessions,’” the report added.
Following the cruel suppression, which was later known as Bloody November by Amnesty International and many human rights individuals and groups, the ayatollahs thought they had ultimately extinguished the protest. However, no day goes by in Iran without anti-establishment activities and demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the parents of victims constantly insisted on the prosecution of criminals. They used any opportunity to vent their anger over the entire mass murderer government and held hundreds of rallies, sit-ins, and commemorating ceremonies in this respect.
As a result of their persistent attempts and thanks to an initiative by human rights organizations and activists such as the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), Iran Human Rights (IHR NGO), and Justice for Iran, a national-international tribunal, known as the Aban Tribunal, in London launched its investigation into the Bloody November case.
For five consecutive days, the Aban Tribunal presided by Judge Zac Yaccob heard or scrutinized hundreds of testimonies provided by detainees, families of victims, former security forces, and many others.
Simultaneously, defiant youths paid homage to their late friends by continuing their path for freedom and justice. In this context, they assaulted around 70 centers affiliated with the IRGC, IRGC-QF, Basij, Security Forces, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
They also set dozens of iconic symbols and statues of Islamic Republic founder Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor ablaze, showing that the regime could not quell the Iranian people’s enthusiasm for a free, democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic government in their country.
Such anti-establishment actions also indicate society’s readiness for fundamental political-social changes, which would sweep the religious dictatorship and its extremist and terrorist agents from Iran and across the globe.