Post-Election Demonstrations, Violence, Arrests

Aljazeera.net is reporting that the streets in Iran’s capital, Tehran, were almost deserted Sunday morning. Since it is a weekday in Iran, there should have been heavy traffic, but many people appear to have stayed home from work. Reports from students in Tehran say that the universities and polytechnic institutes have been closed for the next few days. This step was obviously taken to prevent students from gathering and demonstrating on campus. Many shopkeepers have closed up shop.

Mir-Hosain Mousavi’s protest letter is here.

On Saturday, thousands of pro-Mousavi protesters staged sit-down strikes, started fires in metal trash bins, and confronted police and Islamic Republic of Iran paramilitary forces, pelting them with stones. Riot control police were sent in on motorcycles, in heavy gear. Toward midnight Saturday, tear gas canisters were being lobbed at the thinning ranks of protesters, with at least one hit in the head and wounded by a canister. Observers in Iran said that Facebook was taken off line and that even cell phone service was interrupted. (The latter two techniques are further circumstantial evidence that the election was rigged, since the regime seems to fear it has something to fear from a free and open inquiry and from communication among voters.)

The demonstrations did not only take place in Tehran, as some observers have charged, but were also staged in parts of other cities (I’ve seen Tabriz and Rasht cited).

Iranian authorities have taken into custody at least four of the leaders of the Islamic Iran Participation Front Party, which supported Mir-Hosain Mousavi in Friday’s presidential election. The IIPFP was a leading party within the reformist Second of Khordad Movement of former president Mohammad Khatami.

Russia Today has video coverage of the election results and the demonstrations:

The wife of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is said to have called for protests, according to Javan as translated by the USG Open Source Center:

‘ Iran: Rafsanjani’s Wife Calls for Street Protests if Cheating Occurs in Election
unattributed article: “It seems;” Subheaded ‘If Musavi does not become president, people should protest in the streets!’
Javan
Saturday, June 13,
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

While four days ago, Hashemi-Rafsanjani had indirectly threatened street riots in a letter to the Supreme Leader, after having cast her vote in a ballot box in Jamaran’s Hoseynieh, Rafsanjani’s wife claimed that if there is no cheating, Musavi will become president and if there is cheating, people should pour into the streets in protest.

Having cast her vote, Effat Mar’ashi addressed the people and the reporters and said: You have been witness that I wrote Mir Hoseyn Musavi in my vote and I hope that no cheating takes place, because if such a thing happens, I will not forgive them on Serat Bridge (according to Muslim belief, the bridge that people have to cross to enter heaven).

She then launched an attack against Dr Ahmadinejhad and said: I hope Ahmadinejhad and his Khavarej friends (according to the Koran, a group of traitors who betrayed Imam Ali in the Saffeyn war) receive their response from the people. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s wife referred to the president’s statements during the debate with Musavi and said: Why does he talk such rubbish and accuse my children of stealing? Mar’ashi claimed that if there is no cheating, Musavi will become president, but we hope to God that they do not cheat, because if they do people will pour into the streets and will protest.

(Description of Source: Tehran Javan in Persian Tehran Javan in Persian — strongly conservative Tehran daily believed to be close to the Revolution Guards Corps)’

This would be like Barbara Bush calling for street demonstrations in Washington, DC.

Iran’s repressive forces are powerful and they may get away with staging a stolen election for now. But the regime’s credibility has definitely taken a hit.

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