by TARA MAHTAFAR
27 Dec 2009 15:51
Dec. 27, 2009
Reported deaths: 9
Videos posted here.
Source: Tehran Bureau
They brought a few of the injured today to the Al Zahra hospital in Isfahan. One man, in his 30s, was so severely beaten that he was unconscious and immediately taken to the resuscitation room. He had sustained multiple rib fractures causing a condition known as flail chest, head trauma (he had a depressed skull fracture) and a broken arm, the doctors said.
Minutes after his arrival, plainclothes agents turned up and ordered hospital officials to immediately transfer the man to the Sadoughi Hospital, which is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. At first there were some protests because of his critical condition, but hospital staff eventually relented and the IRGC agents took him with them. This man needed immediate surgery. I can only hope that he has received the care he needed. He was registered as a motor vehicle accident victim at this hospital.
As far as I know, there were no reported deaths here.
* * *
Mohammad Sadeghi, Mousavi Facebook administrator, quoting sources in Qom:
Beginning this morning, a group ranging from 50 to 250 people -- the number fluctuated throughout the day -- surrounded the end of two streets, chanting slogans. The streets were cordoned off because one of them led to the office and home of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, and the other to the office and home of Ayatollah Sanei.
Guests and locals were attending ceremonies at these two homes.
Meanwhile, Basijis surrounded Ayatollah Sanei's office and started chanting, "Death to Sanei," "Sanei is an unbeliever," "Sanei is a source of emulation for the British," and "BBC, Sanei, congratulations on your union." One slogan they kept repeating was, "This army that has turned up is for the sake of [out of love for] the Leader," apparently referring to themselves.
Around 3 p.m., the group, which apparently consisted of Basiji and other plainclothes agents, had poured into the street and surrounded Ayatollah Sanei's office, fired tear gas into the mourning ceremony to disperse the gathering.
Again, after Maghreb (evening) prayers, which marked the start of Sham-e Ghariban [a religious dinner ceremony], a group headed to the Assn of Teachers and Researchers of Qom Seminary (mostly reformist) in the Safavieh district. Basijis and other plainclothes agents followed them there surrounding the place and lockinf them in. At some point, they let some out, and arrested others. From 7:45 until 9:30 p.m. there were clashes there.
At 10 p.m. the Basijis left the office and the police closed off the streets around Safavieh and also those leading to Sanei's office to ward off further attacks.
More than 50 people were reportedly arrested in Qom today.
* * *
Sources in Tehran, Jaras:
Seyyed Ali Mousavi, a 35-year-old engineer and a son of Mir Hossein Mousavi's sister, was killed today. He was among the demonstrators at Maydaan-e Enghelab (Revolution Square) when he was shot in the shoulder. He was taken to Ibn-Sina hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Mousavi, his wife, and his sister and his family, and a large crowd were reportedly still at the hospital.
The hospital denied that anyone by that name had been admitted, even as dozens of police and a truckload of Basijis were reportedly guarding the hospital.
Apparently a "large number" of opposition supporters gathered there, and according to Jaras, they have promised to continue protests into the night and over the following days.
The family of Shahid Beheshti has now offered its condolences to the Mousavi family.
Seyed Ali Mousavi's brother was killed during the Iran-Iraq war.
* * *
Male, 22, university student:
"The Conquest of Valiasr Square"
A large throng had convened near Valiasr Square at about 1 pm, which was blockaded by police. Lines of black-clad Special Guards guarded the square. What happened next was something I had never seen.
People broke off slabs from the sidewalk and smashed them to smaller pieces -- they threw these stones at the Guards. The crowd -- a few thousand people, with a few hundred in the front line -- had gone into guerrilla mode. They were fearless and fearsome: not only did not back down but went on the offensive. The sky looked like a hailstorm of stones. The Guards had taken refuge under their shields; for some reason, they did not fire tear gas at us. After about 20 minutes of this, the Guards retreated and left on their bikes. The crowd was elated; we felt we had 'conquered' Valiasr Square.
We poured into the square. The ground was littered with stones and a few broken helmets, like a battlefield. People set a police canister on fire. The atmosphere was very jubilant.
Suddenly, people began yelling "Run! Go!" and a stampede commenced as the crowd began running. I ran up Valiasr Avenue; after ten or so minutes some of us ventured back out to the square to see what had happened.
I saw a distraught crowd gathered around something. Wails of "They killed him!" "Savages!" filled the air, as well as chants of "I will kill whoever kills my brother." Based on what I heard from people, an anti-riot SUV had entered the square, moving at high speed, and ran over several people who were running away, apparently injuring some and killing or severely wounding one person.
I went forward in time to see people carrying a limp body, but I could not tell if he was dead or unconscious, and I don't know if people took him to the hospital or not.
I left soon after that event, at about 2 p.m.
* * *
Correspondent in Tehran (9:15 a.m. Eastern):
Shooting apparently still going on in Azadi. The son of Mir Hossein Mousavi's khahar-zadeh sister, Seyed Ali Habibi Mousavi Khameneh [according to Kalameh website], 35, was among the protestors killed.
The internet lockdown is worse than ever.
Another reported killed after severe baton blows to the head. Shooting still continuing in Azadi Square. Mashhad reportedly is in flames. Riots reported in Isfahan, Shiraz, Arak, Najafabad.
A riot police van ran over a guy [in Valiasr]... It just ran over him like he was a bug. It's too horrible. I saw it and I'm shaken up real bad [and can't talk about it any more right now].
* * *
Male, 33, engineer:
My friends and I were returning from today's protests at about 2 p.m. We were driving up Valiasr. Traffic was creeping slowly along. At Valiasr Square, we saw a group of Basijis attacking someone on the ground, kicking and beating him with batons. A group of protesters intervened and after a physical scuffle, the guy managed to run away. At that moment, we saw his bloodied face -- with a shock we realized it was our friend R. It was the first time this had happened to any of us. We'd been hit by batons before, but not ganged up on by Basijis. We honked to get his attention and pulled him into the car.
Male, 31, writer
We went at 10:30 a.m. to Villa Street in central Tehran. Anti-riot guards were standing on Hafez Bridge and throwing stones down at honking cars and people. Protesters had set two police motorcycles on fire.
We joined a group of protesters, a thousand or so, and began walking toward Valiasr Square. Religious types were also present. We passed a police station [kalantari] and the police watched us pass by. But as soon as we were past, they fired tear gas into our midst.
At Valiasr and Enghelab, police forces attacked us. We dispersed into nearby alleys. After awhile, we heard cheering and whistling. Venturing back out, we saw that people had managed to overwhelm the police and had captured three of them, disarmed them of shield and baton, and let them go.
At about 12:30, we walked to the intersection of Valiasr and Taleghani streets, where the crowd was very thick. Here, protesters were clashing with anti-riot and police forces -- people were fighting back as well. I saw about a dozen injured protesters and injured policemen.
Further up at Valiasr Square, people had set fire to a police canister on the side of the street.
We then went to Laleh Park. Black smoke was rising from the direction of Karim Khan St. We later found out that police cars had been set on fire.
After 1:30 p.m., the Basij arrived. The violence escalated. They began beating people savagely and firing shots into the air. At that point, we left.
* * *
Male, 25, student:
I was at College Bridge near Amir Kabir University at 11 am. Security forces had closed the street. Tear gas was thrown, but now people know how to fight it: They immediately light fire barricades to dispel the tear gas, and many carry vials of vinegar to sprinkle on kerchiefs which they place over their mouths to counter-effect the tear gas fumes. About 20-30 Basijis standing on the bridge would periodically throw rocks down at people.
* * *
Female, 22, student at Tehran University College of Art:
We drove around central Tehran from noon til 3 pm. Like Qods Day, people had a strong turnout, with Iranians of all walks of life, although in scattered groups rather than a single march. Most wore black and carried green symbols.
Pro-government supporters were also present but in far lesser numbers. They were recognizable because of carrying the Iranian flag, the trademark of Ahmadinejad's election campaign. We did not see any [Ashura] processions on the main streets, only small ones on side alleys.
Traffic was locked on all major streets that were open as well as freeways around central Tehran. There was a great deal of honking in support of pedestrian protesters.
On Valiasr, I saw the ground strewn with stones and shattered glass from bus stations. I later learned that protesters had burned police cars as well.
Black-clad anti-riot guards were out in full force, similar to the summer, as well as Basijis on motorbikes. A few helicopters were circling in the sky. I did not personally see any violence; from what I saw it seemed the security forces were aiming to intimidate people rather than attack them. Friends who had gone on foot, however, had been tear gassed near Enghelab around noon.
Radical slogans I heard today were "Death to Khamenei" and "This is the month of blood/ Yazid will fall."
I think there will be more protests in the evening as it is Sham Qariban tonight. That will probably take place uptown, near Mohseni Square and Mirdamad Blvd., where candlelight vigils are commonly held."
* * *
Sources: eyewitness accounts and BBC Persian
The demonstration route in the capital was slated from Imam Hossein Sq. to Azadi Sq. (east-west), but police had blockaded the middle of the route at Valiasr Sq. People, however, broke through the blockade, and continued the route.
Protests were seen in central Tehran: Azadi, Enqelab, Haft-e Tir, Karim Khan, Valiasr Sq, Imam Hossein Sq, as well as Sattar Khan (south-central) and Baharestan (south-east).
Reports of small protests in other cities: Isfahan, Mashhad, Babol.
Four Reported Killed In Iran Clashes
Opposition and other unofficial sources claim that at least four protesters have been reported killed as thousands of opposition supporters chanting antigovernment slogans clashed with security forces in central Tehran, although Iranian police dismissed the report and said no deaths had occurred.
The opposition "Rahe Sabz" website reported that three protesters had been shot dead by security forces in the middle of the Iranian capital's central Enghelab Street. A Tehran-based human rights activist told RFE/RL that a fourth protester had died after being hit in the head with truncheon by security forces.
The reports, as well as a YouTube video purporting to show demostrators carrying a gunshot victim, could not be independently verified.
In a report carried by the semiofficial Fars news agency, police denied there had been any deaths.
Eyewitnesses in the capital said the confrontations were continuing.
Iranian authorities have banned foreign journalists from many events and imposed tight strictures on domestic media.
But one witness told Radio Farda by telephone from Tehran that security forces were using tear gas and pepper gas against opposition supporters to try to disperse them from the city center.
She reported "a big crowd of people" at the intersection of Bozorgmehr and Vali Asr streets.
"The [security forces] on motorbikes attacked [the crowd]. I can see about 100 or 150 of them," the witness told Radio Farda. "People have set fire to several garbage cans. They're trying to chant slogans against the leader of the Islamic Republic and the dictatorship."