Today is the second anniversary of the failed (rigged) election in Iran. If you are new to following Iran, we recommend our beginners guide to Iran 101. Also, we look back this morning on how Dissected News was started.
Iran Time = +0430 GMT
2038 GMT: We leave the blog for the moment, though we will make updates in the next 24 hours.
Our closing thought, in a separate entry, angry birds toppling the dictators.
2006 GMT: People march down the sidewalks under the watchful eye of Iranian plain-clothed special forces.
Special forces and police used the bus lanes to move through traffic in large groups.
Protesters march silently on Valiasr Street.
1933 GMT: When the protests clogged the streets, the cars began honking in protest instead of marching.
1929 GMT: The first video of the day shows the riot police on the streets of Iran.
1914 GMT: An EA Correspondent wonders if the Iranian regime is just going to let all of its political prisoners die in prison. From Iran News Now:
Radio Zamaneh summarizes a Jaras report that political prisoner, Abdollah Momeni is in critical condition at Ward 350 in Iran’s Evin prison.
Silent protest went on with a large number of people participating and heavy security atmosphere. Many people showed up in their cars and participated in the silent protests.
At Beheshti St (Abbas-Abbad) traffic came to a stand still & drivers got out of their cars. Then people joined in the protest by honking horns. Traffic came to a stand still at Beheshti street and around Valiasr. On Valiasr the security forces were able to use the special bus lines to move around [the traffic]. The special forces on motorbikes were riding up and down the street. People [protesters] kept on moving towards Vanak and Valiasr.
A large number of people were across from Saii Park… [where] there were special unit guards and plainclothes forces… in black clothing and gray vests [who] were video taping people. Plainclothes on motorbikes (2 on each bike) were also video taping people.
Anti riot forces in black clothes equiped with firearms and teargas were at Vanak Square. On Valiasr street, from Vanak Square to Valiasr Square, forces were present, but despite the heavy presence of forces people were present also.
Almost 90% of the forces on Valiasr St were plainclothes on motorbikes. The plainclothes on Valiasr were either on bikes riding up & down or on foot observing people. The dangerous plainclothes are also equipped w handguns, knives and batons.
In more sensitive areas, plain-clothed forces & uniformed forces of NAJA (police) & special forces were stationed. NAJA vans were parked at Valiasr street and Valiasr Sq. NAJA black vans were also parked on the side streets and alleys of Valias. As it got dark, Saii Park lights were turned off and anti riot forces went inside the park. They also turned the lights off at Melat Park, but number of forces at Saii much large.
As it got dark they started arresting people. Most arrests were at Vanak & Valiasr Square. On most intersections (like Fatemi, Valiasr) Sepah forces on motorbikes were stationed.
The number of people that showed up was very, very large.
1822 GMT: The Iranian state-run Khabar Online disputes the claims that anything unusual happened at Vali-e Asr Square or Vanak Square. My translation is a little off, but I think they blamed Hezbollah for chanting, or something, which closed down traffic. So there you have it, I guess there were no protests today.
1803 GMT: Activists are reporting another 20 people arrested in Vali-e Asr Square. This is a recent report, but it may or may not overlap with our previous report.
An opposition Facebook page with a reliable track record has said that “dozens of men and women” have been arrested there (note, we’re pretty sure the picture is old. It’s not claiming to be new, it’s just a header for their updates).
Trying to piece together details. As far as we can tell, security was deployed along the long avenue of Vali-e Asr Street, as well as some other thoroughfares and the major squares. The security forces appear to have attempted to limit the amount of people gathering in a single place, a tactic they’ve used in previous protests.
1740 GMT: Our colleague at Iran News Now has this update on Hoda Saber:
A funeral will be held for him at 7:00am at a Tehran cemetery. Kalame reports that some doctors believe that his death occurred from negligence on the part of prison authorities to take him to the hospital for treatment.
1730 GMT: In our last update, we noted that the confirmed protests, thus far, have stuck to the plans published on major opposition websites. In light of the fact that the reformist leaders, Mousavi and Karroubi, are still under strict house arrest and communications blackout, Dave Siavashi has this analysis:
“That’s very interesting – so it looks like the Arjomand and Green Path Coordination Council are able to muster protesters to the streets. That’s a big deal.
1720 GMT: According to the source in Tehran:
In Vali-e Asr Square, “they are shepherding people into vans like sheep,” a significant number of people being arrested.
Also, “reliable reports of several of arrests in Vanak Square. People are taking refuge in restaurants and the few shops not shuttered by authorities”
“All the action is happening exactly on the web-based itinerary” — No protest in Enghelab Square, for example. According to the source, people are still relying on instructions from the main websites for organisation.
1718 GMT: More from an EA Correspondent in Tehran: ”More arrests of missing people — arrests look to be serious.”
1705 GMT: We have absolutely reliable information that there was a significant altercation near Vali-e Asr Square earlier this afternoon, and many were arrested. According to our source, many people arrived at the square and protested silently. We’re awaiting more details.
1658 GMT: According to the latest reliable reports, large crowds gathered near Vali Asr Square to march, silently, in protest. There are reports that security has attempted to harass the protesters, but they have no reacted to the security forces.
Though main-stream media’s access is very limited, and tightly controlled, NBC’s Ali Arouzi estimates that he witnessed tens of thousands of protesters, and at least 15 arrests. This report suggests that a fairly substantial crowd has indeed marches in Tehran. We have no verification, yet, from our trusted sources that these numbers are accurate.
Our sources report that shops were ordered closed at 6 PM.
1652 GMT: A crowd gathers outside of Modarres Hospital, where the body of Hoda Saber was being kept. Since this video has been posted, we have learned that his body has been released to a coroner for an investigation into the cause of death.
1400 GMT: Unfortunately, due to prior commitments updates will be sparse until after 1700 GMT. Follow the latest news on Iran at EA Worldview.
1312 GMT: Bsalamati has this report on Twitter:
Police guards and plain clothes have started intimidating people not to let any gathering happen
Intense atmosphere at Sharif uni: Guards and plain clothes have arrested some students
1300 GMT: Two years after the failed election in Iran, and today’s New York Times article reminds us that the repercussions of the opposition movement may affect growing democracy movements in all corners of the globe.
Today’s report says that the United States government is investing large sums of money into technology designed for dissenting voices to establish censorship-free internet and cell phone networks. The idea is that relatively inconspicuous technology can be secreted into a country, like Iran or Syria, and could provide an opposition movement with safe, reliable, and unblockable communications access.
The State Department stresses that this technology has the potential to serve as an organizational tool for dissent, a media tool for protesters, but also a diplomatic tool for reaching out to isolated cultures.
1251 GMT: Another report from Manic77:
RT @BanouyeSabz: Tr @manic77 A few minibuses filled w/ plain clothes agents arrived at around Daneshjoo Park. Motorcycle agents also present. #IranElection
1248 GMT: On Twitter, Manic77 is reporting that Tehran University has been closed off by security forces since 2:30 PM. Students have been pushed out of the public gathering spaces, and security is preventing anyone from gathering or protesting in the area.
1242 GMT: Unsurprisingly, we have reports of heavy security on the streets of Tehran, especially near Vanak Square. Thus far, however, there are no reports that the security forces are redirecting traffic, and there are not yet reports of clashes or protests.
1135 GMT: Artist Mana Nistani marks the death of Hoda Saber.
1127 GMT: It is still several hours away from planned protests in Iran. On Twitter, an activist reminds us of a poem, recited on a rooftop on June 19, 2009, amidst the rising protest cries of “Allah-u Akbar.”
1117 GMT: The wife of journalist Hoda
Hader Saber has not yet been given permission to arrange a funeral, and Hader Hoda’s body has not yet been released to the family. The family is keeping vigil outside of Evin prison, but their demands have not been met.
1109 GMT: Hyper-activist Lissnup maintains a database of more than 2700 prisoners of conscience in Iran. Sadly, that database has already been updated once today due to the death of Hoda
Hader Saber (update below).
1059 GMT: Former Iranian President, Reformist Mohammad Khatami, met with the families of the oppositions martyrs yesterday and announced a condemnation of the imprisonment of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Fatima Karroubi. The two former candidates for president and their wives have been held in strict house arrest, without formal charges being filed against them, for approximately 100 days.
1033 GMT: Journalist and activist Hoda Saber has died in prison. He suffered a heart attack as a complication of his hunger strike. According to his wife, Saber was abducted and was missing for days before she was informed that he was in Evin prison, and he was never informed of the legal reasons for his imprisonment:
“They have told my husband that he is serving his prison term for his 2000 court case ruling. He was in prison and solitary confinement for nearly two years. If the reason for his arrest is for him to serve his sentence from the case in 2000, he must now be freed, as he has actually served his prison sentence. But, the most important thing is that the 2000 sentence was issued for fifteen arrested members of the Nationalist-Religious members, and the lawyers say that only one person from the fifteen must serve the term,” Farideh Saber, wife of the prisoner of conscience said.
“Mr. Saber suffers from heart disease and high cholesterol, diseases he developed during the multiple times he has been imprisoned over the past ten years. He must be released, so that we can take care of his physical ailments. I don’t know on what charges he is in prison now,” said Farideh Saber, stressing that Mr. Saber is serving a prison term about which neither himself, nor his lawyer and family have been informed.
Saber was a member of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition.
1024 GMT: The protest poster being used by many opposition websites (featured image, see full sized image below), according the Scott Lucas, reads:
“It’s night, climb on the roof/With our chants friendship arises,bearing 1000s of stars in its heart/Darkness which cannot stand light will disappear.” (An important hat tip and note: the poster comes from the blogger Dust and Trash, whose name was “inspired” by Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration, in which he called those who challenged him “dust and trash”.)
1013 GMT: Latest weather report in Tehran says that it is 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the air is filled with dust. We don’t expect protests until after 5 PM.
1000 GMT: We start with a declaration of support for the protesters, posted by the hacking group Anonymous, which has declared war against the Iranian regime over the censorship and oppression of free speech and human rights in Iran.