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Quds Day Updates

by TARA MAHTAFAR

18 Sep 2009 14:3013 Comments
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Clashes erupt in afternoon

Tehran Bureau | Sept. 18, 2009

Witnesses present at the Quds Day rallies held Friday in Tehran report that while security forces showed restraint early in the day, violence escalated in the late afternoon as anti-riot guards and Basij militia clashed with opposition protesters.

In some cases, protesters stood their ground, hurling stones at security forces and chasing them to engage in bare-fisted sparring, witnesses said. "People seemed less fearful compared to previous demonstrations," one participant said. "This time, they were fighting back."

Throughout the day, regular police officers reportedly stayed on the sidelines for the most part.

Police officers even protected the demonstrators in one instance cited by an eyewitness. "Plainclothes forces attempted to attack a group of protesters carrying a long green banner, but the police intervened and prevented physical confrontation."

Scattered clashes continued into the early evening. In the end, large amounts of teargas were used to dispel the demonstrators. -- Tara Mahtafar

Dueling Crowds

Tehran Bureau | Sept. 18, 2009

The Associated Press reported today that "Several tens of thousands joined the opposition marches, witnesses said, far smaller than the masses that turned out in the Quds Day rallies, which were helped by government organizing."

A number of eyewitnesses who participated in Friday's Quds Day demonstrations in Tehran disagreed.

"The difference in the size of the crowds was enormous," said a 30-year-old male opposition supporter. "The opposition turnout was comparable to the Friday Prayers led by Hashemi Rafsanjani in July."

Arash Kamangir, an Iranian human rights activist on Facebook, confirmed that supporters of the Green Movement turned out in higher numbers than their government-sponsored counterparts. "The video footage taken of rallies in various locations in Tehran show that the chanting of the protesters drowns out the sound of slogans blared over the loudspeakers. This could not happen if the Ahmadinejad backers were the larger crowd."

Still another Tehran-based eyewitness cited the combined areas of the squares and streets in downtown Tehran packed with protesters as an indication of their massive turnout. "The length of the Enquelab Street-Azadi Square route was filled with chanting protesters. They also filled Haft-e-Tir Square, Keshavarz Boulevard, Kargar Street, 16 Azar Street, and Valiasr Square. Judging by these areas taken together, the opposition crowd in total had to have been over one hundred thousand today." [Click on Green houses on this interactive Google Map to see video and locations.]

At Tehran University, however, the site of Friday Prayers and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech, pro-government protesters outnumbered the "Greens." -- Tara Mahtafar

Click here for photos of both camps.

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Rival Rallies Turn Violent in Tehran; Protest Is Opposition's Largest in 2 Months

WaPo | Sept. 18, 2009

More than 100,000 opposition supporters took to the streets in Tehran, and similar demonstrations were reported in several other Iranian cities. Although the protesters were outnumbered by government supporters observing Quds Day, it was the largest opposition turnout since mid-July, when protests against Ahmadinejad's disputed victory in the June 12 presidential election ran into a fierce government crackdown.

State television employees, doing live broadcasts on the official rally from Enghelab Street, pointed their cameras at the ground as groups of anti-government demonstrators passed by, flashing victory signs and shouting, "The resistance has not died; it's the government that has died."

Enduring America | Sept. 18, 2009

Iranian state television was carrying tonight's big football match only in parts, only in black-and-white, and without sound. This was supposedly because Iran's national broadcaster could find only one (presumably very old) camera, rather than because thousands of people had gone to the stadium wearing Green and chanting Green slogans.

Qods Day roundup by Golab P.

From Agh Bahman:

The police were standing there the whole time; the non-uniformed [militia] forces were also there. And like always, a camera was filming us. On a few occasions, fights broke out between people.

There was a girl who was holding photos of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. When she passed by me, as I was saying "death to the dictator," she asked, "So, what happened to the long live my opponents?"But she passed me by quickly and didn't let me answer. A few times, people got into arguments. [The argument was about] saying traitor or dictator. One time, the argument turned into a fight.

When Khatami left, there was a small fight between those who were saying long live Khatami and those who were saying death to Khatami, but people were able to end it right there and then.

A group was carrying big photos of Nasrallah and Khamenei; they were just standing there. When the greens passed them by, they started chanting "death to the dictator."

We came out of the rally at 12:30, but I think it is going to go on [for some time.] I'm happy, and once again I'm feeling reassured. I think a great thing happened today. Victory is ours ... I have no doubt.

From Moroor:

As state radio was carrying an interview with Ahmadinejad, there was a loud "Ahmadi, resign, resign" coming from behind him. They quickly wrapped up the interview.

---------

I checked again, no photos on Mehrnews, Farsnews, Rajanews or ISNA -- and there are reports on Balatarin that state TV is showing footage from previous years. Did the greens have THAT big a turnout? ;-)

__________________________________________________

Muhammad Sahimi:

The most important aspect of today's demonstrations was that, they did not

take place only in Tehran, but also in many other cities around Iran, including Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Rasht, Mashhad, Qom, and Kermanshah. [Click here for 80 videos.]

This was the clearest manifestation of the depth and breadth of the Green Movement. In addition, despite the hardliners' best efforts to scare people and keep them off the streets, large demonstrations took place, which is indicative of the fact that the Green Movement is alive, well and thriving.

___________________________________________________

From Jason Rezaian | CS Monitor

While many opposition protesters reportedly wore their signature color of green, eyewitnesses say that in some areas it was hard to tell where demonstrators stood politically.

"It's hard to know who was who, as people seemed afraid to speak with fellow demonstrators," says a middle-aged investment analyst, contacted by phone in Tehran, who attended a demonstration near Tehran University. "I tried to initiate conversations with a few guys younger than me, but they didn't want to talk."

The lack of a decisive victory for the opposition may buoy the government in this round of post-election conflict, but Iranian authorities gave several clear indications leading up to Friday's celebrations that they are still concerned by the country's growing opposition movement.

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Mehdi Karroubi

8332_135950159453_45061919453_2351691_3015134_nMir Hossein Mousavi entrourage hold back attacker who was shouting obscenities as well.

Tabnak's photos of other politicians out on Quds Day.

Payvand's photos Green show of force.

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Photo: Azadi Street
YouTube video: protesters v riot police

Tehran recap from Muhammad Sahimi | 10:30 a.m. Eastern

Supporters of the Green Movement gathered at 7 Tir square (a major intersection) and began moving toward Tehran University, where the Friday prayers and Ahmadinejad's speech were to be held. Mehdi Karroubi joined the demonstrators and walked with them all the way to the vicinity of Tehran University.

To prevent the Green Movement's supporters from penetrating Tehran University, public buses had been used to block all the streets around the campus. Security forces, the Basij militia, and plainclothes agents used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators.

Former president Mohammad Khatami joined the demonstrators close to Palestine square, a short distance from the campus of the University of Tehran. He was then attacked by a mob led by Abolfazl Shariatmadari, son of Hossein Shariatmadari, the hard-line managing editor of Kayhan, the mouthpiece of the hardliners and security forces. Khatami was rescued by the people, and sustained minor injuries. He was then taken away.

All of 7 Tir square, Karim Khan Zand and Keshavarz boulevards, and Hejab Street were filled with supporters of the Green Movement. A large crowd also gathered in Azadi Square, and walked toward Enghelan Square, a short distance from the campus of Tehran University.

Some of the slogans chanted were:

Palestine, we are just like you

Oh [Imam] Hossein, Mir Hossen [Mousavi]

Karroubi, Mousavi, we support you

Death to Russia

Torture, rape, have no longer any effect

Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I'll die for Iran

Leave Palestine alone

Long love [Dr. Saeed] Hajjarian [the jailed reformist strategist], long live Mousavi

Long live [Grand Ayatoollah Hossein Ali] Montazeri, Long live Karroubi

The real Basiji, Hemmat and Bakeri [two commanders killed in Iran-Iraq

war, whose families support the Green Movement]

Long live Montazeri, long live [Grand Ayatollah Yousef] Sanei

And to Ahmadinejad:

Shut up liar

Get lost liar

Resign, Resign! Where is your 63% [of the vote], liar

Rumors continue to persist that the arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi are imminent. Several relatives, children, and grandchildren of the jailed reformist leaders have also been arrested, in order to pressure the leaders to "confess." In one case, one of the reformist leaders has been told that, "we have found so much evidence against your son that his punishment is death," in order to get him to "confess."

Photo of beaten protester.

YouTube video: Official slogan goes: "Death to America," people shout back "Death to Russia."

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No location given for photo.
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Not to be outdone.

The Spin:

IRNA claims only 500 'Greens' came out on Qods day

Rokhdad | Sept. 18, 2009

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said only 500 Greens turned up for the Qods rally, but soon fled after encountering the pious people of Tehran.

According to IRNA, a group of people wearing green garments violated the sanctity of Ramadan by eating in public and smoking.

Another group had green branches, wristbands and banners with them and were even wearing green shoes.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, despite the green group's actions the police and people showed no reaction, which infuriated the Greens and prompted them to change their route.

The report said that "these seditionists chanted slogans against IRNA upon passing the headquarters of the news agency."

IRNA claims Karroubi bodyguard fired teargas

Rokhdad | Sept. 18, 2009

The official Islamic Republic News Agency claimed Mehdi Karroubi's presence at the Qods Day rallies created an uproar, prompting one of his bodyguards to fire teargas into the crowd to disrupt the rally.

IRNA went on to also claim that as soon as Karroubi appeared, people began chanting slogans such as "death to seditionist", "Karroubi you liar don't forget Jazayeri" and "Karroubi must be jailed."

Mowjcamp photos. (18 Sept)

iReport video of Quds Day. Video (18 Sept)

Photos from Quds Day Gooya.com (18 Sept)

_______________________________________________________

From a Tehran resident (17 Sept):

Hello, People will come out but many are also leaving Tehran as it is a long weekend. Saturday is half closed and Sunday is a holiday. Many who participated in previous demonstrations are leaving Tehran or have left already and many are much scared of what happened to their colleagues, friends and other citizens.

Mir Hossein Mousavi Facebook page | Thur (US Eastern)

[Mehdi] Karrubi to be in 7 Tir Sq. tommorow 11a.m. (+3:30 GMT)

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Mehdi Karroubi cartoon character's message on the wall: "The road to Qods passes through Pasteur Street [where President's Office is located]." Cartoon by Nikahang Kowsar/Roozonline
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13 Comments

I see they're using violence against Mousavi & his peaceful protester's again...don't this shower of a "Regime" do anything other than kill & maim in Iran?

Jaker / September 18, 2009 9:37 AM

In dolate moft khor va ARAB Parast, bayestieke az bein beravad, va khahad raft, rah sakht ast valie Pirozie ra mardome Iran darand hes mikonand.

ZENDE BAD JONBESHE SABZ

PIROOZ BAD IRAN va IRANIE DOOST va IRANIE PARAST

Reza / September 18, 2009 11:54 AM

Nice to see history repeat hisself.


again blind people masses walking without a leader supporting someone who is one of the fathers last revolution.


again.. the cows are lose.. and this time.. they are running.


i think in persian it is called caw dari.

Just Crazy / September 18, 2009 12:18 PM

Please don't say "arrested" when you should say and mean "taken hostage".


Thanks.

John Kennard / September 18, 2009 1:18 PM

just crazy, maybe you choosed the right name. howerver, what you do write here, is just crazy. with how many iranian people have you ever spoken? maybe you are someone, who believes, he knows everything. so a human is more tha crazy. he is mad.

iranianoldman / September 18, 2009 2:34 PM

Today marked a milestone for the Green Movement, proving that it is still well and alive, and will not give in to coup pressure.


IRNA and other state media can lie their mouths off ... the truth is out and the veils have fallen away ... even Iranian villagers must have heard by now how things stand! Once unleashed, news travels fast.

Mani / September 18, 2009 4:28 PM

@ Just Crazy:


Actually, the difference this time is that the Movement does NOT blindly follow a charismatic, idolized figurehead like Khomeini, but is largely organic (prompted by the people themselves) with a decentralized leadership at the helm (Mousavi, Karroubi, Montazeri, etc).


Also, the Iranian population of 1979 cannot be compared with the 2009 without considering the huge advances in literacy and uni education.

1979 was driven by Leftists as well, which was in keeping with the 'spirit of the time' in the 70s (think of 1968 in Europe). The Islamist hijacked the revolution once the puppet monarchy was toppled -a feat most countries in the region have yet to accomplish.


2009 is driven by a young, urban, educated demographic who demand civil rights, true democracy and rule of law, freedom of speech and press -and even, constitutional revision for a secular state. Again - this is FAR more than any country in the region can claim, except for Israel and Turkey!


This new generation has demonstrated great courage and innovation in its struggle against a brutal regime. Far from being 'blind' sheep-like followers, they are boldly propelling the Movement forward on their own terms.

Amir / September 18, 2009 4:48 PM

as a former activist during my college days in the 70,s.i can really understand these young peoples passion and emotions for fairness and justice for all.today i am 55 yrs old and a liitle too old to be demonstrating,but iran belongs to these young people and our duty as an iranian abroad is to support them.my heart and mind are with them and i know that they will oneday enjoy the fruit of their struggle.

zendeh bad jonbesh sabz.

fay moghtader

fay moghtader / September 18, 2009 11:22 PM

How long more does the regime wants to suppress the the Iranian people? How long more do they honestly think they can go on using brutality and cruelty to stay in power? It is absolutely mind blowing! I stand strong and tall together with the Iranian people in Iran and outside Iran to fight for justice and peace for a free Iran. Please continue on with your struggle or a Free Iran.

The Cat / September 19, 2009 4:53 AM

This seems to be another great idea of CIA and MI6 to destabilize the great country of Iran. As everyone has already seen, these traitors wont succeed as did Bush, so people do not waste yr breath here. Do make sure u get killed by being violent (so-called peacefulness :p) on the streets, and being arrested and then trials... oh il ove these trials of traitors and spies :D


God protect Ahmedinejad and Iran. Ameen.

Syed / September 19, 2009 6:19 AM

Nice pictures on http://picasaweb.google.com/hsaber/Quds#5382933144375241698

Are you sure, picture # 49 wasn't by chance taken in the US of A?

Like: baseball caps + rifles = rednecks?

Only the sixpacks are missing... :-)

Questioner / September 19, 2009 10:12 AM

I am so proud of the people of Iran especially the ones that come out on the streets of Tehran and other cities. They are so brave. People from other oppressed countries should watch and learn and I hope that no Iranian gives up and continues his or her struggle against any oppression.

MM / September 19, 2009 5:46 PM

I have been reading and watching on this site because the news here in the US doesn't follow it as much. I am an ordinary American. I am constantly impressed by what the brave people of Iran are doing. It reminds me of the Czech and Slovak people back in 1968 resisting Communism. I pray that you in Iran will succeed in getting your government into your hands like you tried with the election. And I pray for the safety of the men being accused unjustly. May Karroubi, Mousavi, Former president Khatami and Rafsanjani be kept safe as well.

Chuck Eddy in USA / September 21, 2009 12:56 AM