Saturday, June 20, 2009
20 June, 2009: Day 8th: Resistance, Rage & Blood on the Streets of Tehran, its Suburbs & other Cities in Iran
A Summary Report of, thus far, the Bloodiest Day in the Islamic Republic of Iran:
Despite the state ban of today’s demonstration (following the Supreme Leader’s speech in Friday Sermon, 19 June), thousands of people took to the streets of central Tehran, chanting “Death to the Dictator” and “Down with Dictatorship.” Due to heavy censorship of all communication venues by the current government, the only available sources of information from Iran are incoming news from twitter, eyewitnesses, blogs (particularly, Revolutionary Road), Facebook, and Youtube videos taken by cell phones on the streets.
:Anti-riot police & Basij militia occupying, in-advanced, Ferdowsi Square on Revolution Street:
:Anti-riot police & Basij militia blocking access to demonstration sites:
In Tehran, ongoing reports confirmed heavy and bloody clashes between different fractions of Iranian security forces (including military police, anti-riot police, Basij militia – many in plain dress and wearing masks) and protesters in central Tehran, on Revolution St. from Ferdowsi Square (2 city blocks east of Revolution Sq.) to Freedom Sq. (the west-end of Revolution St.) – an area of some 6 kilometers – and the surrounding neighborhoods; as well as Amirabad mid-town neighborhood (few city blocks – approx. 3 km – north of Revolution St.), where parts of University of Tehran campus and its dormitory are located.
:Map of Enghelab(Revolution) Street & its surrounding areas, Azadi (Freedom)Square:
Meanwhile, helicopters were flying above the demonstration areas. The demonstrations started, as planned, around 4:00 pm – local time (LT) – by tens of thousands of people gathering in Tehran’s Revolution Square, amidst heavy presence of police and military forces (see pictures above). This is while by using tear gasses and blocking the entry roads to the whole area from the early hours of the rally, the police and military forces, practically, tried to disperse present protesters into surrounding residential areas and deny many more access to the demonstration sites.
Nonetheless, by 4:20 pm (LT), Revolution St. (the main route of June demonstrations) was packed up to its west-end, Freedom Square. By 4:30 pm (LT), anti-riot police, military police, and Bajis militia started attacking and dispersing demonstrators into the surrounding (mostly residential) areas, using batons, tear gases, and pepper sprays – also, late-evening reports from Emam Hospital speak of burned injured civilians, confirming the possibility of pouring either boiled water, chemical water or acid on protesters – unconfirmed reports speculate acid is being poured by helicopters flying above the contested areas. By 5:20 pm (LT), reports of heavy clashes and sounds of gun shots in Khosh St. around Freedom Sq. came in. By 5:40 pm (LT), heavy clashes between demonstrators and police and military forces (using tear gas and water cannons) on Freedom St, and chants of “Death to Dictatorship” by the people were reported. There are some reports of beating ordinary people on the streets and not just protesters. By 5:50 pm (LT), news of gathering some 2,000 to 3,000 protesters at Tehran University campus, followed by police surrendering of the campus, where the hardest and bloodies confrontations have been reported in Amirabad neighborhood.
:The writings read: My martyr comrade, I will take back your vote:
:Fire & fights in residential areas of Tehran:
:Street fights in residential areas:
By 8:30pm (LT), reports of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s (the opposition presidential candidate) presence among the people and his speech in Jayhoon St. (on Revolution St., close to Sharif University and Freedom Sq.) came in. According to confirmed sources, Mousavi declared he’ll stand all the way with the people: “I am prepared for martyrdom. Shame on you and your tricks the coup government” and “If I am arrested the nation is to strike indefinitely.”
Residential houses close to the contested areas have been opening their doors, giving refuge to injured protesters. Confirmed reports speak of European Embassies' (Embassies of Britain, France, Denmark, Portugal, and Australia – so far) opening their doors and accepting injured protesters. This is due to the fact that many confirmed evidences show those injured who have been taken to the hospitals are being immediately arrested by police and military forces, taken to unknown locations, without informing families’ of the victims. Local reports saying Canadian Embassy has refused to accept anyone so far. According to news coming from Fatemieh Hospital in Tehran, until 11:00 pm (LT), some 30-40 civilians were dead, 200 more injured, and police has been taking names of incoming injured civilians. Incoming news speak of ongoing shooting at people on the streets of Tehran and calling for urgent medical help at site. Meanwhile, incoming news speak of mass arrests of journalists in Tehran. This is while, so far, not only some 600-700 reformist political figures (many of them part of the political structures) and activists, but also many young social organizers have been arrested within the past days.
:The brutal suppression of demonstrations started by shooting civilians:
While clashes and street fights, initially, started in the central city – in areas around Revolution St. – and then shortly later, spread to mid-town (University of Tehran campus), later in the evening and into the night, the street fights between civilians and police/military forces made it to other parts of the city, as well as the east and west side suburbs (mostly lower middle-class and working-class areas): by 7:00 pm (LT), upper town areas on Vali Asr Street (Vanak Sq.), by 8:47 pm (LT), going up north of Vali Asr (Tajrish Sq.), by 9:17 pm (LT), Arya Shahr neighborhood (west of Tehran), by 10:48 pm, Gisha neighborhood (west of Tehran), by 11:00 pm (LT), Haft Hoz neighborhood (east of Tehran), by 12:00 pm (LT), Navab St. and Azarbayjan St. (both south of Tehran), by 12:15 pm (LT), reports of fires in Haft Hoz Sq. (east of Tehran) and use of Molotov Cocktail by protesters in pushing back Basij militia.
By 9:45 pm (LT), hundreds of thousands of Tehranians took to their roof tops, chanting “Allaho Akbar” (God is great) for an hour – both in memory of the days of the 1978-9 revolution, and, as a sign of collective resistance and solidarity, symbolically implying ‘the fight will go on’. Eyewitness reports speak of the highest intensity of chanting within the past week. Some reports speak of plans by people to march into central Tehran tonight.
News of similar scenes of heavy and bloody clashes between police/military forces and civilians has been reported from other cities: Ahavaz (southern Iran), Rasht (northern Iran), Tabriz (northwestern Iran), Isfahan (central Iran), Shiraz (southern Iran).
Below are some videos from today (Saturday, 20 June 2009) street scenes in Tehran. Some videos contain violent scenes. Discretion advised.
20 June 2009, Demonstrations on the Streets of Tehran, around 5:30 pm (LT)
Above: Chanted Slogans: Death to the dictator; Down with this falsified, populist government; People why are siting aside, Iran has turned into Palestine;
20 June 2009, Demonstrations & Confrontations on the Streets of Tehran
Above: Chanted Slogans: Death to the dictator; Until Ahmadineajad is here, everyday will be like this; People, why are you sitting aside, Iran has turned into Palestine; O' Hossein, Mir-Hossein; Don't be scared, don't be scared, we're all together.
20 June 2009, Rage & Blood On the Streets of Tehran
20 June 2009, Rage & Blood on the Streets of Tehran
20 June 2009, Shooting at Civilians on the Streets of Tehran (Discretion Advised)
20 June 2009, Killing of a Young Girl by Basij Militia on the Streets of Tehran (Discretion Advised)
"At 19:05 June 20th
Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st.
A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.
The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St.
The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.
Please let the world know." From Facebook Notes.
In the memory of all those brave souls who have lost their lives on the streets, and, in solidarity with all brave women and men who have courageously taken to the streets of Tehran and other cities in Iran; voicing their rights as citizens, resisting oppression and dictatorship, getting injured and arrested. You are making memorable pages of the history of this much troubled country.