Its D-Day in Tehran. Friday the Muslim day of prayer is the day that everything will come to a head. According to reports the Grand Ayatollah has threatened Mousavi either stand beside him in a show of unity as he leads Friday’s Prayers or be “cast out.”
To emphasize his point an the Ayatollah is busing an army of Basiji — Islamic volunteer militiamen.
The demand was made at a meeting this week with representatives of all three candidates who claim that the poll was rigged, and it puts Mr Mousavi on the spot. He has become the figurehead of a popular movement that is mounting huge demonstrations daily against the “theft” of last Friday’s election by President Ahmadinejad, the ayatollah’s protégé.(SOURCE)
The big question is will Mousavi “toe the line”. And if he does, will his followers back down along with him. There is the possiblity that this revolt has gotten “bigger” than Mousavi. This revolt might have started out as a protest of a stolen election, but it has morphed into a fight to get rid of the guardian council and the mullahs that rule Iran.
Read some of the letters from Iranians, originally published in the Wall Street Journal, their anger and desire for basic freedom has only grown:
Ahmadinejad has taken revenge on the students of Iran during these violent days. The regime’s aim is to damage universities, since they are the first base of change, movement and protest.
I live in the dorms at Tehran University. I was asleep when Basij militiamen entered my room early Monday morning, demolished everything and started beating us. A man with a long beard broke my notebook and said: “It is destroyed, this book that you were using against Islam and Ahmadinejad.”
They beat students more when they saw posters of Mousavi in their rooms. And they carried big knives and guns.
They also attacked the women’s dormitory next door. The Supreme Leader calls us rioters, but I want to ask him: How can sleeping women in their beds be rioters? Is this the Islamic justice he believes in?
President Obama’s speech was good; he says that he will support us. He also said that nations must decide the fate of their countries by themselves. I agree with him, but now we don’t have any power to change the situation, so we need help and attention.
We ask the president not to accept this coup d’etat.
Marching to Freedom Square By Alireza in Tehran
There is something in the air in Tehran these days. We remain afraid, but we also dare to speak.
I left my home in Tajrish along with my family at 3 p.m. to head to the protest on Monday. We knew that people were supposed to gather in Enghelab [Revolution] Square at 4 p.m. and march toward Azadi [Freedom] Square. From Gisha Bridge onwards, we saw people walking. Cars were blowing their horns and people were flashing the victory sign. I also saw a group of about 20 militiamen with long beards and batons on motorbikes.
My hand was hanging out of the taxi window with a little green ribbon — the color of the reformists — tied around my finger. One of the militiamen told me to “throw that ribbon away!” When I refused, 15 people attacked me inside the car. They beat me with their batons and tried to pull me out.
My wife and my daughter who were sitting in the back seat cried and held me tight. I also held myself tight to the chair. As they tried to shatter the car windows the driver went out and explained that he is just a taxi driver, we are just his passengers, and he hadn’t done anything wrong. After about five minutes they left us alone.
Soon we joined the crowd at Enghelab Street. What I saw there was the most magnificent scene I have ever witnessed in my life. The huge numbers of people were marching hand-in-hand peacefully. There were no slogans being shouted. Hands were held up in victory signs with green ribbons. People carried placards which read: silence. Young and old, men and women, rich and poor were marching cheerfully. It was an amazing show of solidarity. I was so proud.
Enghelab Street, the widest avenue in Tehran, was full of people. Some estimated that there were one to two million people there. As we marched, we passed a police department and a Basij base. In both places, we could see fully-armed riot police and militiamen watching us from behind fences. Near Sharif University of Technology, where the students had chased away Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a few days before, Mir Hossein Mousavi (the reformist president-elect) and Mehdi Karrubi, the other reformist candidate, spoke to the people and were received with cries of praise and applause.
My family and I had put stickers on our mouths to represent the suppression of the regime. Other people carried signs. One quoted the national poet Ahmad Shamlu: “To slaughter us/why did you need to invite us/to such an elegant party.” Another made fun of the government’s claim that Ahmadinejad won 24 million votes: “The Miracle of the Third Millennium: 2 x 2 = 24 million.” Others just read: “Where is my vote?”
When we finally arrived at Azadi Square, which can accommodate around 500,000 people, it was full. We saw smoke coming from Jenah Freeway and heard the gunshots. People were scared but continued walking forward.
Later, my sister told me that she saw four militiamen come out from a house and shoot a girl. Then they shot a young boy in his eye and the bullet came out of his ear. She said that four people were shot.
On my way home at around 2 a.m. I saw about 10 buses full of armed riot police parked on the side of the road. There were scattered militiamen in civilian clothes carrying clubs patrolling the empty streets. And in Tajrish Square I saw a boy around 16 holding a club, looking for something to attack.
At Ahmadinejad’s “victory” ceremony, government buses transported all his supporters from nearby cities. There was full TV coverage of that ceremony, where fruit juice and cake were plentiful. At most, 100,000 gathered to hear his speech, including all the militiamen and soldiers.
We reformists have no radio, no newspaper, and no television. All our Internet sites are filtered, as well as social networks such as Facebook. Text messaging and mobile communication were also cut off during the demonstrations. And yet we had hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
The state-run TV station has announced that riot police will severely punish anybody that demonstrates. Ahmadinejad called the opposition a bunch of insignificant dirt who try to make the taste of victory bitter to the nation. But his remark was answered by the largest demonstrations ever.
Older people compared Monday’s gathering to the demonstrations of 1979 which marked the downfall of the Shah’s regime. They even said that this event was larger.
Democracy is a long way ahead. I may not be alive to see that day. With eyes full of tears in these early hours of June 16, I glorify the courage of those who have already been killed. I hope that the blood of these martyrs will make every one of us more committed to freedom, to democracy and to human rights.
Women on the Front Lines By Negin in Tehran
Friends from all over the world call my cellphone nonstop to make sure we’re safe. The connection is either cut or so bad that we have to guess what the other person is saying. But the other day one call was very clear: My mother was wondering if I could help her with her computer. She recently joined Facebook and can’t stand the fact that her favorite site is filtered.
She’s stopped complaining that my father follows the news day and night. If they’re not outside in the middle of the city, my parents are both glued to the television.
Until a few days ago most people believed that this protest was just the voice of suppressed students and youngsters. But now we know this isn’t true. “No fear, no fear: We are together.” This is what we heard today from millions of people from different generations in Tehran.
The number of people that participated in the demonstration surprised everyone, but what has fascinated me is their variety. At the beginning I thought this was going to be a fight between the lower class and the middle class. What I saw on Monday changed my mind completely. I saw many women, young and old, covered head-to-toe in black chadors shouting and chanting among the demonstrators and joining the young girls who were sitting on the ground in the middle of the street to stop the Basij militia from walking inside the crowd.
That image will never be wiped away from my mind. The women on the front line with their loose colorful scarves had opened their arms, ready to be killed, while others were beaten by the Basij on the side of the road.
People want to be heard and supported by the rest of the world. They were sending messages to the West with their cameras. They were calling on Obama and Sarkozy to demand that the Free World not recognize this government. I saw a few women shouting: “Now it’s your turn to support democracy and human rights.”
“The fear is gone. Nothing seems to be an obstacle anymore. They can filter all the Web sites and shut down the Internet, SMS service, and mobile phones, but they cannot shut our mouths.” This is what I hear all the time.
Late at night everyone wants to share their experience with others. Telephones don’t stop ringing. Sara, my girlfriend, called me half an hour ago. She had heard gunfire near her house and had seen bloodied people. Although she was panicked and needed to talk to someone, she hung up the phone to go onto her roof and shout. Within a few minutes I heard my neighbors shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) from their balconies as well.
I remember how sometimes I used to be irritated by the loud prayer call which starts with the same phrase, Allahu Akbar. Now this phrase has turned out to be the most beautiful one.
After a while I called back my mother to help her with her computer problem. She didn’t answer. Perhaps she is on the roof too.