[Title quotation by Rumi]
1) On Monday, demonstrations in Tehran were fragmented. Juan Cole notes that:
Since demonstrations are becoming so hard to stage, what with motocycle Basij forces constantly patrolling and the regime’s willingness to break heads even just for having a peaceful demonstration, the opposition is rumored to be shifting tactics.
He includes the following eyewitness account from Monday:
I cannot sleep and not write this.
Today in Haft-e Tir, there were so many members of basij that they outnumbered the demonstrators 3 or 4 to 1. They were less focused on women. This must be related to the murder of poor Neda. And this was also why whenever they got hold of a man, women would surround them and shout don’t beat him, don’t beat and they would turn and anxiously say we didn’t beat him. It was astonishing. They explained; they talked.
But they didn’t allow us to congregate; they kept telling us to walk and the crowd walked quietly for 2 hours in the circle (meydaan) and spontaneously gathered in whichever area they were not present. About 2000 of us were walking around the circle and only shouting Allah-o Akbar until they were forced to disperse us with tear and pepper gases. I thought people’s patience and persistence was great, although there were also many bad scenes and I cried.
They arrested a whole bus load of people. There were many intelligence folks in the crowd too. They would point to a person and the basijis would arrest that person. There was no one from Sepah and the police was obviously sympathetic to the crowd. I swear some of the Basijis were only 14 or 15, or at least what they looked like to me. On the other hand, women are playing an amazing role in the streets; both in terms of numbers and effectiveness..
He also links to a report that the Guardian Council, one of the main bodies on the clerical side of Iran’s government, has denied the request to annul the disputed election results and arrange a new vote.
2) While he has not been arrested, Mousavi has apparently been muzzled by the Iranian regime. According to a friend of Mousavi’s in Paris, “he has security agents, secret police with him all the time. He has to be careful what he says.” And thus can no longer speak freely to supporters. However, Mousavi’s friend also says: “The regime, arguably, is losing ground, not the protests. Ordinary Iranians are openly rejecting the legitimacy and power of Ayatollah Khamanei. That is entirely new, unheard of.”
3) Khamenei’s address from last Friday is worth reading for the full flavor of authoritarian rhetoric including nationalistic flattery, fearmongering insinuation, and veiled threats.
4) In general, Juan Cole has had a lot of good information on what’s happening in Iran — including reports from his contacts there.
Robert Fisk’s reports from on the ground in Tehran are worth a look too. He’s been ignoring the restrictions on journalists, and thus has eyewitness accounts of many of the protests.
5) Aaron Bady of zunguzungu has one of the better posts I’ve seen putting the events in Iran in perspective:
Continue reading ‘“Tis light makes color visible”’