Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iranian Election Protests Erupting

Mousavi didn't blink.

Parisa Hafezi at Reuters reports that Mousavi has said that he is "ready for martyrdom" and called for a national strike if he is arrested. He reiterated his demand that the elections be annulled and new elections carried out in a letter to the Guardian Council:
"These disgusting measures (election rigging) were planned months ahead of the vote ... considering all the violations ... the election should be annulled.,"
Further, it is reported that neither he nor Karrubi decided to attend the meeting with the Guardian Council today to discuss their disputes, per PressTV. That seems to leave little room for compromise--either the elections are nullified or conflict has been chosen.

Whether or not Mousavi endorsed the rallies today, they took place. The security forces were out in force, though it is reported that neither the Revolutionary Guards nor the Army have been committed, only the Basij and the Law Enforcement Forces. From the Tazahorate Ma blog:

More images can be found there.

70% of the population is in urban areas in Iran ... and the urban areas appear to have erupted in some violent clashes with the security forces:

Possible images of protests today in Tehran, though the date of the footage has not been confirmed.

Powerful footage of clashes in Shiraz can be found here.

Very graphic and extremely upsetting footage of a woman shot down in the streets of Tehran:

Footage and coverage from CNN:

Reuters reports that a suicide bomber blew up the shrine of Ayatollah Khomenei.

CNN reports that security forces used tear gas, helicopters sprayed acid on protesters, and that efforts were made to prevent people from congregating. So it is to be conflict. Everyone in Iran knows they have the right to peaceful assembly per the Constitution.
"Article 27
Unarmed assemblies and marches may be freely organized, provided that no violation of the foundations of Islam is involved."
Also, the right to a representative form of government is guaranteed:
"Article 6
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the affairs of the country must be administered on the basis of public opinion expressed by the means of elections, including the election of the President, the representatives of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the members of councils, or by means of referenda in matters specified in other articles of this Constitution."
It appears that the contest is open, will be violent, and is about those who believe that the representative elements of the government serve their interests best and those who want to eliminate whatever vestiges of representation remain.

An Iranian rap video of unknown provenance calling on the soldiers to back to protesters:

Translation at the youtube hosted site.

The President's statement:
"Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.' I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness."
His statements calling for people to respect the rule of law notwithstanding, it seems that the LOTR has given up whatever legitimacy he had under the Constitution.

I have no idea how things will unfold, but just now it looks very ugly. If various elements of the armed forces take the side of the protesters, the government of Khamenei and Amahdinejad is probably done for--like I said, 70% of the people in Iran live in the cities.

Still no sign of Rafsanjani.

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