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Ahmadinejad's Big Rally for Subsidy Cuts


28 Dec 2010 23:214 Comments

[ on the scene ] I went to Ahmadinejad's big rally-and-fire-spitting extravaganza in Karaj today. It was probably the largest gathering he's had, so far as his provincial visits go. There were around 22,000 people present. It was also the first time in two decades Sepah, the Revolutionary Guards, provided security for a government rally in full uniform. There were about 250 officers I could count on the ground. Overall, there were about 3,500 security personnel -- Sepah, NAJA, Basij -- on rooftops, lining the street, at the stadium.

We heard they had spent $100,000 on billboards and banners the previous week for an event that got cancelled for security reasons. They must have spent the same amount this week. That's a hefty sum in Iran.

Last night, residents of Karaj's Gohardasht district burnt some of those billboards and banners. Many have been arrested. Gohardasht is considered the heartland of the Greens in Karaj. It is solidly middle class and they are all very militant.

What was striking about the rally today was how phlegmatic the eight to ten thousand people inside the stadium were. Nothing roused them from their stupor. I think the economic crisis is sapping their already dulled spirits.

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In the only photo where security guards are present, the men at the front of the stage (they're either IRGC or NAJA in M-65 style field jackets) appear middle-aged. They're not even issued with sidearms or radios.

Three companies of IRGC for a crowd this size is low if their intent was crowd-control. Judging by the age of the men in the front row and the low number, it's likely they were more like spectators.

It would be interesting to know which branches of NAJA were present, as well as composition of the Basij attendees that made up the 3,500 number. Uniform descriptions would be helpful, as would supporting pics or video.

Pirouz / December 29, 2010 1:50 PM

This is still impressive that 22000 people came from him after all these months of loss in popularity he really is the man of the people

ali zadeh , Tehran / January 1, 2011 7:50 PM

He is the monstrous president of a monstrous and illegitimate regime.
We all know his ultimate end, but how many will die or be tortured in the meantime?

Jonathan Matthews / January 4, 2011 1:16 AM


For a second I thought you were describing Obama. You know, thousands dead in Iraq and Afganistan, eyeing Pakistan and Yemen, Gitmo still open for torture.

I am not aware Ahmadi ordering any wars around. Are you?? enlighten us.

Anonymous / January 5, 2011 12:20 PM