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2M Iranians Defy Ban, Protest Elections

From a disturbed Associated Press:

Huge pro-reform rally defies crackdown threats

By Anna Johnson And Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writers

TEHRAN, Iran – More than 100,000 opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defied an Interior Ministry ban Monday and streamed into central Tehran to cheer their pro-reform leader in his first public appearance since elections that he alleges were marred by fraud.

Security forces watched quietly, with shields and batons at their sides.

The outpouring for reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi — swelling as more poured from buildings and side streets, and wearing the trademark green of his campaign — followed a decision by Iran’s most powerful figure for an investigation into the vote- rigging allegations.

Mousavi paused on the edge of Tehran’s Azadi, or Freedom, Square — where Ahmadinejad made his first post-election speech — to address the crowd, which was more than five miles (nine kilometers) long. They roared back: "Long live Mousavi."

"This is not election. This is selection," read one English-language placard at the demonstration. Other marchers held signs proclaiming "We want our vote!" and raising their fingers in a V-for-victory salute.

"We want our president, not the one who was forced on us," said 28-year-old Sara, who gave only her first name because of fears of reprisals from authorities…

The massive display of opposition unity Monday suggested a possible shift in tactics by authorities after cracking down hard during days of rioting.

Although any rallies were outlawed earlier, security forces were not ordered to move against the sea of protesters — allowing them to vent their frustration and wave the green banners and ribbons of the symbolic color of Mousavi’s movement

One of Mousavi’s Web sites said a student protester was killed early Monday in clashes with plainclothes hard-liners in Shiraz, southern Iran. But there was no independent confirmation of the report. There also have been unconfirmed reports of unrest in other cities.

Most media are not allowed to travel beyond Terhan and thus can not independently confirm protests in other cities

Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed the campus at the city’s biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they say was mass election fraud.

The nighttime gathering of about 3,000 students at dormitories of Tehran University started with students chanting "Death to the dictator." But it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who fought back with tear gas and plastic bullets, a 25-year-old student who witnessed the fighting told The Associated Press. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fears for his safety.

The students set a truck and other vehicles on fire and hurled stones and bricks at the police, he said. Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture with axes and wooden sticks, Akbar said.

Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took away memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested…

Tehran University was the site of serious clashes against student-led protests in 1999 and is one of the nerve centers of the pro-reform movement.

After dark Sunday, Ahmadinejad opponents shouted their opposition from Tehran’s rooftops. Cries of "Death to the dictator!" and "Allahu akbar!" — "God is great!" — echoed across the capital. The protest bore deep historic resonance — it was how the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini asked Iran to unite against the Western-backed shah 30 years earlier…

The Agence France-Pressee is reporting much higher numbers:

1.5 Million-2 Million Iranians At Anti-Ahmadinejad Rally – Policeman

TEHRAN (AFP)–Hundreds of thousands of Iranians turned out for a mass opposition rally in Tehran on Monday, with one policeman saying the figure could be as many as 2 million.

"Between 1.5 million to 2 million people have gathered," one policeman involved in the security operation for the protest told AFP.

The rally was organised by defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says Friday’s vote that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected was rigged.

But, alas, it will all be for naught.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “2M Iranians Defy Ban, Protest Elections”

  1. tranquil.night says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, today’s internet and networking framework is so potentially underestimated with respect to freedom of speech that it’s frightening. This is being called a Twitter Revolution, and now they’re being fired upon. So who knows what’ll happen here IMHO. Khamenei may have really overplayed his hand and/or gotten blind-sighted by this – he probably meant to incur unrest so that he could crush it – but this sounds like it has the potential to get way out of the scope of his control (we don’t even know what’s going on outside Tehran). Kind of like Soros with the current economy: what started with a tactical recession and subtle shift to socialism is becoming a full-blown depression and radicalizing USA – also largely because the internet and leaders of the new free media are putting forth a much more coordinated and effective opposition than ever thought possible by the masterminds.

    “That’s when I noticed that the police always treated the protesters in the same way. Head and testicles. It was an easy message to understand. A smash in the face, a kick in the balls and Long Live the Democrator.” Robert Fisk of UK Independent

    Iranian Election Twitter – I’m following it now, it’s an absolutely historic thing.

    • Steve says:

      I’ve actually been following that very Twitter. (My first following.)

      It is quite amazing.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Isn’t it? This is a huge thorn in the paw of all demagogues out there and needs the support of our media and our president (who’s out blah-blahing about medicare).

      Just saw this:

      “119 members of Tehran University faculty have resigned en-masse as a protest to the attack on Tehran University dorms last night. Among them is Dr Jabbedar-Maralani, who is known as the father of Iranian electronic engineering. They have asked for the resignation of Farhad Rahbari the appointed president of Tehran University, for his incompetence in defending the University’s dignity and student lives.”

      People are also saying leaked results show Ahmadi came in a very weak 3rd.

      Wow: http://twitpic.com/7h3r5/full

    • proreason says:

      What an amazing photo. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. And it does seem to indicate that something unexpected might be going on in Iran. I was scornful of the thought until I saw the photo. Now I have a different perspective.

      Thanks for linking to it t.n

    • JohnMG says:

      How do you think the MSM will characterize these people? Will they be dubbed “freedom fighters”? It that is the case, then anyone can become a freedom fighter simply by partaking in a civil disturbance. My guess is, that won’t be the case in this country–unless, of course, the protesters are left-wing nut jobs. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with being derisively refered to as ‘teabaggers’

    • tranquil.night says:

      http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html

      Look at picture 29, it speaks volumes. Revolutionaries are circulating rumors that there’s hope police forces might side with the crowd.

  2. proreason says:

    I don’t want to be Pollyanna, but Communism did fall suddenly in Eastern Europe.

    Perhaps it is possible the Iranian people have had enough.

    If the inconceivable happens, and the people marshall the will to take control of their destiny, it would even be worth having the Moron attempt to take credit for it.

    It’s hard to look at those amazing pictures and not be hopeful.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    I hope they don’t look to our Messiah for help. He is against the very thing they are protesting for.

    They take to the streets for their right to democracy……..
    …….we do it and we are labeled, slandered and banished by our own government Jackbooted thugs!!

  4. David says:

    I think it could be very damaging to this movement if the US was seen to support it. The only thing I will give credit for is if Obama keeps his mouth shut until it is over. My guess is we will be hearing some “historic” speech of support for the revolution by Obama in the next day or two and the anti-US backlash will kill this thing much faster than the Iranian govt. ever could.

    • VMAN says:

      He may just keep his mouth shut altogether and then take credit no matter how things turn out. That seems to be more his style. Do nothing and then take credit for anything that looks good

    • curvyred says:

      I agree with you David – they are already stating it is because of outside interference that the uprising is occurring.

      He is on the television right now – starting off with “I want to make myself very clear” and he is actually making a lot of sense – wow. I am impressed.

      I have them in my prayers and hope they continue to fight for freedom and truth.

    • tranquil.night says:

      I disagree and I’m infuriated by such a cop-out. O’blah-blahs press conference was disgusting. There’s just.. my God, so much is wrong with this. The idea that this is going to happen peacefully is just so naive. The idea that there’s going to be a fair investigation into the fraud is dangerous. The police have been given the order to shoot, 5000 Lebanese mercenaries were brought in to kill protesting Iranians, it’s estimated 100 students are missing, some confirmed dead in a college raid last night. Yeah, this thing will end peacefully, it’ll be reported to have ended peacefully and no one will know how many heroes lost their lives in a futile attempt to show the world they’re ready for freedom.

      Twitter is telling a story rarely told because the Western media is normally forced out. Reports are that iranians on twitter are being disconnected and/or tracked. This isn’t diplomacy o’blah-blah! It’s freedom and it needs our damn show of confidence. I don’t think anyone expects US intervention, but a condemnation on the communications crackdown and obvious police violence would be a start. Man oh man..

    • JohnMG says:

      …..”a condemnation on the communications crackdown and obvious police violence would be a start……”

      Coming from Obama? You’ve got to be kidding,t.n.

      This is precisely what he has in mind for us. Why would he protest such behavior abroad when he plans to implement the same tactics here. Watch for it come July 4th at some of the tea parties.

  5. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    It’s an Iranian TEA Party. Tire of Enduring Ahmadinejad. If they’re successful maybe they can throw the mullahs out and bring all the other thugs to justice for what they’ve done since the 1979 revolution. But first they’ll have to try them for crimes committed against their fellow citizens. Because these tyrants didn’t achieve their grip of power without first terrorizing the people in order to keep them in line. The mullahs can’t blame the Americans this time for all the post election unrest.


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