Protests in Tehran: Batons and tear gas
Published on TV channel ARD on November 4, 2009
Hundreds of demonstrators have protested against the Iranian government on the 30th anniversary of the occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran. The Revolutionary Guards confronted the protesters using batons and tear gas. Eyewitnesses even reported shootings. Several people were arrested.
By Ulrich Pick, ARD radio broadcasting studio Istanbul
So far, details of the situation are still unclear. However, it is certain that during the protests in Tehran there have been clashes between security forces and Iranian opposition members. The incidents occurred alongside the official celebration of the 30th anniversary of the esclade of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. While the opposition, whose number amounted to several hundreds, chanted slogans like “God is great” and “Death to the dictator”, security forces used tear gas against them. The website of opposition leader Mehdi Karubi even reported that the police shot at the demonstrators. In addition, several people have allegedly been arrested. There is no information yet about the number of arrests.
Today’s clashes in the Iranian capital had been expected by observers, since the defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi on his website for two weeks has been appealing on the supporters of the so-called “green movement” to take to the streets to voice the concerns of the opposition.
Similar to the so-called Jerusalem Day on the 18th September, when the government had also staged an official rally, the Iranian opposition today wanted to use event to draw attention to the repressive political situation within the country, and the crackdown by the security forces after the protests against the disputed presidential election in June. The authorities had banned all oppositional demonstrations at today’s anniversary of the occupation of the U.S. embassy and had warned the protesters that they would be confronted by, as they called it, a determined action by the police.
More than 100 protesters imprisoned since June
Only yesterday, the prominent university professor and wive of Moussavi, Zahra Rahnavard, had demanded the release of all female detainees who were arrested after the election protests. Until today, far more than 100 protesters are still imprisoned in Iran, three of them have been sentenced to death. According to official reports, during and after the protests 36 people were killed. The opposition speaks of more than 70 deaths. The clashes following the official reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June were the severest unrests in Iran for 3 decades.