Iran demonstrators clash with police, Rev Guard
learned a thing or two about how to break up demonstrations during the last go
around with the reformers and have applied the lessons with vigor.
Thousands of opposition supporters have clashed with security forces
in the centre of the Iranian capital, Tehran.
Police used tear gas and detained dozens rallying in solidarity with
uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. There was one report of a death in Tehran.
The BBC also received reports of similar protests being held in the cities of
Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz.
Earlier, the police placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house
arrest, according to his website.
It said the move was intended to prevent the former prime minister attending
the march in Tehran, which the authorities had prohibited. The road leading to
Mr Mousavi’s house was also blocked by police vans.
Fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament and a
senior cleric, is also reportedly under de facto house arrest.
The situation got ugly, quickly: CNN
Uniformed security forces and pro-government Basij militiamen had earlier
advanced on crowds who chanted “Death to the dictator!” during demonstrations in
the city’s Imam Hossein Square — the planned starting point of a scheduled
rally, a witness said.
“We definitely see them as enemies of the revolution and spies, and we will
confront them with force,” said Cmdr. Hossein Hamedani of the Revolutionary
Guard, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
Thousands of security personnel lined Revolution Avenue, allowing the march
to continue but preventing the marchers from congregating in Azadi Square —
considered a rallying point by opposition groups.
“You can’t take two steps without running into security personnel,” one
witness said. “They’re all over the place.”
Several protesters who were diverted by police to side streets were beaten
with batons and gassed by security officers who were waiting at those locations,
That the protestors were able to organize at all is a testament to the adage
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” It takes more than guts to join a protest
these days in Iran – as evidenced by what happened to so many after the last go
The opposition says more than 80 of its supporters were killed over the
following six months, a figure the government disputes. Several have been
sentenced to death, and dozens jailed.
Can the Iranian opposition rev up the demonstrations again? They may try, but
unlike Egypt, Iran has the state security apparatus that would have no problem
massacring their own people – the basij and the Revolutionary Guards. It will
take a lot of moxie to participate in protests when you know the security forces
could open fire at any time.