Tweeting a Coup: Day 3
It has been a hectic last 24 hours in Iran and in the blogosphere. Because everything is so chaotic, I’ve decided to post key developments that have been blogged/reported/twittered within the last 12 hours. I’ll post new reports as they come in:
From the New York Times:
Dozens of reformist politicians were said to have been arrested at their homes overnight, according to news reports on Sunday and a witness who worked with the politicians. There were also reports of politicians and clerics being placed under house arrest.
Meanwhile, some foreign journalists were apparently being told to leave the country.
Reuters quoted a judiciary spokesman on Sunday as saying that the reformists had not been arrested but had been summoned, “warned not to increase tension” and released.
From the Associated Press:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday his re-election was “real and free” and cannot be questioned _ despite accusations of mass voter fraud.
Ahmadinejad made the comments Sunday during a press conference _ his first since the government announced that he was re-elected to a second term in a landslide victory during Friday’s vote.
But his top opponent accused the government of voter fraud and many of his supporters have clashed with police in Tehran’s streets. About a mile away from Ahmadinejad’s press conference, young Iranians set trash bins, banks and tires on fire as riot police beat them back with batons.
“In Iran, the election was a real and free one. The election will improve the nation’s power and its future,” he told a packed room of Iranian and foreign media.
Ahmedinejad responding to a question from Christian Amanpour during a press conference:
“What is the situation with your challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi and will you guarantee his safety? And why have opposition reform individuals, officials, been arrested?”
“The situation in the country is in a very good condition. Iran is the most stable country in the world, and there’s the rule of law in this country, and all the people are equal before the law. And the presidential election has witnessed people’s massive turnout. As I said, even in a soccer match, people may become excited and that may lead to a confrontation between them and the police force. This is something natural. A person coming out of a stadium may violate the traffic regulations. He wil be fined by the police no matter who he is, an ordinary person or even a minister.
So these are not problems for the people of Iran. 40 million people have participated in the election and these 40 million people will safeguard the elections, based on the Iranian culture. There is no partisanship based on the Western concept. In fact, the people are friends with one another, and they’re going to cast their votes in favor of any candidate they like, and of course, such a voting process will not lead to any hostility among the people. And you go to the streets you see that people are friends with one another, and in Iran, no one asks the other whom you’re going to vote for.
The situation is very good, and Iran is on the threshold of making considerable progress. And definitely in the next four years, the status of Iran in the world will be further promoted.”
From the Associated Press:
Iran restored cell phone service that had been down in the capital since Saturday. But Iranians could not send text messages from their phones, and the government increased its Internet filtering in an apparent attempt to undercut liberal voices. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were also not working.
The restrictions were likely intended to prevent Mousavi’s supporters from organizing large-scale protests. But smaller groups assembled around the city. About 300 Mousavi supporters gathered outside Sharif University, chanting ”Where are our votes?”
From Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post:
12:08 PM ET — Mass resignations at Sharif University. NIAC: “It has been confirmed that 120 faculty members at Sharif University have resigned in protest of the election, and are gathering in front of the university for a demonstration.”
Twitter is full of accounts of violence at Sharif University right now, including riot police firing rubber bullets and storming through dorms. I have not seen independent confirmation of this yet (please email me if you have) but fyi.
1:06 PM ET — The word from Tehran. An email from an Iranian-American in California, who passes along word from his father abroad. Again, this is not confirmed information (though it dovetails with a lot of the talk on Twitter), but passing along to give a sense of the moment right now.
Just got off the phone with my dad. He leaves in northern tehran…He said that most iranians believe that a lot of the basijis [plain clothes officers] on the bikes are hezbollah arabs brought in to do to the citizens what a persian cop would refuse to do. Accordingly when the protesters knock one of the basijis off their bikes they are being particularly brutal, believing that the rider is arab. Regular uninformed cops are not being pursued with the same anger.
Bank storefronts have been smashed all over northern tehran. Mousavi, khattami and rafsanjani are allegedly meeting at mousavi’s house (who is under house arrest) and are planning their next move. People there are waiting for further instructions from mousavi. In my dads neighborhood bbc persia and voice of america have been knocked off the satellite but not in all parts. Sorry this is rambling I’m getting constant calls from tehran. Will speak to my father again in two hours and will let you know anything new.
Please do not mention my name if you blog about this. Thanks.
From Roger Cohen at the New York Times:
“Here is my country,” a young woman said to me, voice breaking. “This is a coup. I could have worked in Europe but I came back for my people.” And she, too, sobbed. “Don’t cry, be brave,” a man admonished her. He was from the Interior Ministry. He showed his ID card. He said he’d worked there 30 years. He said he hadn’t been allowed in; nor had most other employees. He said the votes never got counted. He said numbers just got affixed to each candidate. He said he’d demanded of the police why “victory” required such oppression. He said he’d fought in the 1980-88 Iraq war, his brother was a martyr, and now his youth seemed wasted and the nation’s sacrifice in vain. Quoting Ferdowsi, the epic poet, he said, “If there is no Iran, let me be not.”
From The Daily Dish at The Atlantic:
This is hearsay – but under conditions of a police state coup, we are best advised to glean what information we can, hold it provisionally, and test it as time passes. Here’s what Kos Diarist Electronic Maji is hearing from Iranian journalist friends under lockdown:
Unofficial news – reports leaked results from Interior Ministry:
Eligible voters: 49,322,412
Votes cast: 42,026,078
Spoilt votes: 38,716
Mir Hossein Mousavi: 19,075,623
Mehdi Karoubi: 13,387,104
Mahmoud Ahmadi-nejad (incumbent): 5,698,417
Mohsen Rezaei (conservative candidate): 3,754,218
Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s presidency illegitimate and cooperating with his government against Islam. There are strong rumors that his house and office are surrounded by the police and his website is filtered. He had previously issued a fatwa, against rigging of the elections in any form or shape, calling it a mortal sin.
From Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post:
An emailer, Laleh, writes in with some information from a friend in Tehran. We don’t have confirmation on either of these points, but have heard them several times now, so am forwarding on.
1) Grand Ayatollah Yousof Sanei, a major Iran scholar, has apparently declared the elections “haram” — unlawful.
2) The restrictions on foreign reporters are growing more strict. Laleh relays this from his friend: “The foreign reporters, who most of them are staying at the Esteghlal Hotel, have been forbidden to leave the hotel. A contact who was at the hotel last night witnessed security forces keeping reporters from leaving the hotel and witnessing scenes of unrest nearby on Vali-Asr avenue.”
From the Khaleej Times Online:
The British Broadcasting Corporation said the satellites it uses for its Persian television and radio services had been affected since Friday by “heavy electronic jamming” which had become “progressively worse.”
Satellite technicians had traced the interference to Iran, the BBC said.
BBC Arabic television and other language services had also experienced transmission problems, the corporation said.
Journalists Twitter the crackdown on foreign media:
Alex Hoder tweets:
“NBC offices in Tehran raided, cameras and Equipment confiscated. BBC told to get out Iran immediately. Cell/internet shut down”
ABC’s Jim Sciutto tweets:
“police confiscated our camera and videotapes. We are shooting protests and police violence on our cell phones.”
“inside the protests tonight, if you support ahmadinajad, no police, you criticize him, get pepper spray, tear gas, batons..”
Anti-govt protests have spread to other Iranian cities, incl Rasht…”
We witnessed police spraying pepper gas into the eyes of peaceful female protesters…”
“Two worlds in Tehran tonight. Support Ahmadinejad, free rein. Oppose him, risk police attacks, tear gas, batons, arrest8 minutes ago from web”
More from Nico Pitney:
From an emailer Salim: “This is beginning to mirror what I witnessed in the first revolution. When people start taking over military centers. There is report that a basiji center in Northern Tehran around Tajrish has been captured by the protesters. This would potentially mean weapons in hands of protesters. I’ll let you know if I heard more.”
From @tehranbureau: “basij and security forces had fought for hours to subdue the people… My friends who work in the tehran hospitals said the number of injured was staggering”
From @winston80: “heavy clashes in Shiraz (southern Iran) reported. ppl attacking police”
From @iranelection09: “URGENT JUST IN, there are TANKS in front of the interior ministry of tehran in valiasr st. & fatemi cross CAREFUL”
Stunning video. Ibid.:
From the Tehran Bureau:
Zahra Rahnavard gave a speech at Tehran University today, Sunday, June 14. To a large audience of students, Ms. Rahnavard announced the latest official statement issued by Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has pledged he will not back down from contesting the fraudulent 22 Khordad election results. Mousavi calls on all Reformist supporters to take part in a PEACEFUL MARCH & MASS DEMONSTRATION in 20 cities across Iran on Monday, June 15 (doshanbeh, 25 Khordad) at 17:00 to denounce the election results as fraud. He has applied for a license to protect the safety of protestors. The Tehran location is Valiasr Avenue, from Valiasr Square to Tajrish Square. The locations in other cities are listed below. Mousavi has also called for a NATIONAL STRIKE on Tuesday, June 16 (Khordad 26) and asked all those who contest the results to close their shops, businesses, etc. and for employees to not go to work that day. Communication is critical to success for a large turnout, so please forward this to every Iranian you know. The statement is verified on Ghalam News (ghalamnews.ir), the official site of the Mousavi campaign (site rasmi setad).
With clashes continuing Sunday night on the streets in Tehran, Iran’s opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi plans to make a speech to Iranians in the capital’s Azadi (Freedom) square.
From CNN’s Samson Desta:
Late last night, I went out to one area in Tehran and that one got a bit ugly. You had pro-Mousavi protesters moving out, smashing windows and facing off with a group of individuals who are described as vigilante because they were not wearing uniforms. They were plain clothes, carrying baseball bats. They were carrying metal pipes, and they were just beating up anyone that was that was in that area. Today, I went to a second protest…probably the most violent that I’ve seen, that we have seen. We went to an area in midtown, where we saw hundreds of pro-Ahmadinejad protesters. The difference here is that these protesters again did not wear any uniforms who identified they were except for the Iranian flag that they were waving. They were on motorcycles. There were some on foot but again, they had weapons. No uniforms but they had weapons such as metal pipes, and they were actually just driving around, intimidating people, beating up people, anyone that was in the street, anyone that was in the road, anyone that dared to chant “Mousavi, Mousavi,” they were beating them senseless…
… Just one additional thing, this is very interesting. A number of students came up to me today and said that they want to appeal to President Obama. They said, ‘is he going to accept this result? Because if he does, then we are doomed.’ So I heard a lot about appeals to Obama and the international community today from university students.
From Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic:
Tweets From The Green Revolution
My Father has a truck load of ballot boxes that were to be burned in the back of his truck.
i eats some pills and wanna sleep and i scared that if they can find me …i going…thx for your supports….
typing as fastest as I can in bth English&Farsi,Still we need outside help,I really don’t want to be captured by Ansar
Once again I thank everyone in the world. No matter if Ahmadi stays or not, I’m proud to have clasped such supportive hands.
URGENT JUST IN, there r TANKS in front of the interior ministry of tehran in valiasr st. & fatemi CAREFUL
I can’t find my friends on streets.
Rasht, glass splinters on the streets, riot police not hesitating to beat men, women and even kids
From Enghelab Sq friend just call me, Police & unknown forces beating everybody for no apparent reason!
Correction, no bus burned, but three cars.
dawn is breaking. can hear prayers from mosques.
cousin in tehran is traumatized by the club and baton beatings on tehran streets. eyewitness report of a girl beaten to death.
IRG’s helicopter flying low on yousefabadad Amirabad Gisha right now creating a devastating sound and making windows shake
sources from Tehran: ppl are killed, ppl are in blood, tehran is hell.
We witnessed police spraying pepper gas into the eyes of peaceful female protesters
We are here in the dark, all kinds of rumors fly by; nothing is sure.
IRIB TV warned people seriously about going to tomorrow’s rally, mobile network might be down for tomorrow’s rally.
SOS From Tehran
NIAC gets an email that I cannot get out of my head:
WE NEED HELP. WE NEED SUPPORT. Time is not on our side, waiting and making sure means more casualties, more disappointment, more brutality.
The most essential need of young Iranians is to be recognized by US government. They need them not to accept the results and do not talk to A.N government as an official, approved one. They need help by sending true information. All the medias are under arrest or close control. Help them have the information.
They only try to show the fraud to the world. Help them please. You can not imagine the level of brutality we saw these two awful days.
This seems to be establishing itself as the meme of the hour:
‘The Lede’ New York Times Blog,
Nico Pitney Liveblogging at the Huffington Post
The Daily Dish at the Atlantic