Amnesty International says Iranian security forces have killed at least 106 people in nationwide anti-government protests since Friday, four times the death toll of Iran’s last mass protests two years ago.

In a Tuesday interview with VOA Persian, the London-based rights group’s Iran researcher Raha Bahreini said Amnesty determined that security forces killed 106 protesters based on eyewitness accounts, social media videos and reports of exiled Iranian human rights activists. She said Amnesty International soon would provide a breakdown of the number of protesters killed in various Iranian cities.

VOA Persian has independently confirmed the killings of at least seven protesters in shootings by Iranian security forces on Saturday. Iranian state media have said several people have been killed including at least one security force member in the demonstrations that began Friday and spread to dozens of cities. But the Iranian government has not published any official death toll.

People protest against increased gas price, on a highway in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia…
People protest against a gasoline price hike on a highway in Tehran, Iran, Nov. 16, 2019.

The demonstrations erupted in response to the government abruptly raising the subsidized price of gasoline by 50% early Friday. Many Iranians see the increase as putting a further burden on their wallets at a time of worsening economic conditions.

Bahreini said Amnesty has called on the United Nations and European Union to make urgent appeals to Iran to end its violent crackdown on the protests and to respect Iranians’ rights to freedoms of expression and assembly.

Iran violently suppressed the last major wave of nationwide protests that swept the country from late December 2017 to early January 2018. At least 22 people were killed in the crackdown on those protests, which were fueled by public anger with government corruption and mismanagement.

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service.