Thursday, September 17, 2009

Live blog - Ghods Day - Friday 18 September 2009

That wraps up today's live blog. 

7:45 PM Tehran time - 3:15 PM UTC
Scene of desolation bears witness to the violence of clashes. The burning motorcycles and the lack of any security forces may indicate that regime's agents did not always have the upper hand. The young man filming the street says today's date. 

6:30 PM Tehran time - 2:00 PM UTC

Parleman News, the news service of the Imam Line Faction of the Majlis, has published a photo report of the attack on former President Mohammad Khatami that took place earlier today. In a previous article on its web site, Parleman News said that Khatami was attacked by a group of hard-liners as he was approaching Palestine Square, just north of Tehran University. The people intervened and defended Khatami. The group of hard-liners was led by Abolfazl Shariatmadari, son of Hossein Shariatmadari who is the head of the ultra-conservative Keyhan daily and represents Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at the Keyhan Institute. Khatami reportedly lost his turban in the scuffle. Six photos were posted on the site, though the pictures were numbered 1 to 7. Photo 5 was missing and likely showed the moment of the assualt.

6:15 PM Tehran time - 1:45 PM UTC
Note: 'Death to Russia!' has been chanted by green protesters because it is widely believed in Iran that Russia has aided the coup plotters. Russia also has close ties to the Iranian regime. 
Footage of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi joining protesters earlier today. Demonstrators shout, 'If Karroubi is arrested, Iran will become Hell!'

6:00 PM Tehran time - 1:30 PM UTC
According to BBC Persian, demonstrators in Shiraz attacked security forces which had arrested some of their fellow protesters and managed to release them. 

5:45 PM Tehran time - 1:15 PM UTC
This footage was allegedly filmed at 7th Tir Square at 10:30 AM Tehran time. The lone voice of the chant-master desperately calling out 'Death to Israel!' and 'Death to America!' is all but drowned out by the crowd exclaiming 'Death to Russia!' 7th Tir Square was the start of one of the seven official routes leading to Tehran University.

5:00 PM Tehran time - 12:30 PM UTC
Unconfirmed reports of clashes in Vanak Square. Two police vehicles were allegedly set on fire. Protesters reportedly threw projectiles at the state radio-television building.
International telephone service from Iran is extremely sporadic. 
New footage from earlier in the day shows green protesters passing by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance annex for traditional arts and handicrafts. They simply chant: 'Iran! Iran! Iran!...'

4:30 PM Tehran time - 12:00 PM UTC
Footage almost certainly from today's Ghods Day rally was posted on YouTube a short while ago. This video was allegedly taken several hours ago on Tehran's Karim Khan Zand Street, which goes between 7th Tir Square and Vali Asr Square. One of seven official routes in Tehran ran along this street, then continued past Vali Asr Square onto Keshavarz Boulevard and finally to the northern gate of Tehran University. The massive number of green protesters stream past police cars and respond to the hapless chant-masters' repeated calls of 'Death to Israel!' and 'Death to America!' with their own 'Death to Russia!'

4:00 PM Tehran time - 11:30 AM UTC
Reminder: For maps of the march routes, go here
Caller on ePersian radio: I was on Kargar and Vali Asr. Supporters of Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami and Rafsanjani lined the streets. There were 15 or so Basijis with bullhorns, shouting 'Death to Israel!', then the people would shout back 'Death to Russia!' Then a Basiji on a motorcycle tried to ride into the people. You should have seen how the people beat him up. There was a Basij support car right behind the motorcyclist and the people beat up the Basijis in the car too. Vali Asr Street is littered with rocks and bricks and sticks for about 2 miles. There were serious clashes here, but you should have seen how the Basijis ran when the people with sticks charged them.

3:30 PM Tehran time - 11:00 AM UTC
Opposition news sites, Mowjcamp and Mosharekat, appear to be down. This could be the result of heavy traffic, although it must be noted that Norouz's site was brought down after an orchestrated cyber-attack last week.
Mobile telephone service is reportedly sporadic.
Caller on ePersian Radio: I don't know why they're saying there were no clashes. I was on the route from 7th Tir Square and I personally was beaten. They were just standing on the side of the street and beating anyone who went by. When we got to Vali Asr Square, there were hardly any regime supporters. They were using bullhorns, but I swear I was near them, but I could barely hear them. All I could hear was the voices of the greens. I think this was an even greater victory than previous demonstrations. I'm proud of our country because of the young people who live here. Cars would stop and give us rags and kleenex for our wounds. I saw a young man, blood pouring from his head, holding a rag to it, but still shouting out slogans. There was some guy on a motorbike, he looked like a Basiji and was trying to push through the crowd, then people started to grumble, he quicklygot off his motorbike and raised his fingers in a V and said, I swear I'm with you guys. (she also says that she has filmed the events and will post the videos)
Caller on ePersian radio: 'I was at the protest between 7th Tir Square and Vali Asr Square. There was a huge crowd.
The following video purports to show the protest along that route. (NB Mehdi Karroubi joined the protesters on this same route and reportedly continued beyond Vali Asr Square, into Keshavarz Boulevard.):

3:00 PM Tehran time - 10:30 AM UTC
According to a report datelined 14:53 by Fars news agency, under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: 'A small number of Mir Hossein Mousavi's supporters were dispersed in a timely manner by security forces in Shohada Square. The Ghods Day rally is progressing in all its splendor and the marchers are approaching the Masoumeh Shrine.' This brief was inexplicably taken off the Fars news feed minutes ago. 

2:45 PM Tehran time - 10:15 AM UTC
A large number of videos purporting to be from today's protests across Iran can be found on UNITY4IRAN and OnlyMehdi's YouTube channels.
Reports of heavy clashes on Karim Khan Zand Street. People are allegedly responding to the charges of the security forces with rocks and sticks.

2:30 PM Tehran time - 10:00 AM UTC
According to an article posted over two hours ago on Parleman News, the news service of the legislature's Imam Line Faction, former reformist President Mohammad Khatami was attacked by a group of hard-liners as he was approaching Palestine Square, just north of Tehran University. The people intervened and defended Khatami. The group of hard-liners was led by Abolfazl Shariatmadari, son of Hossein Shariatmadari who is the head of the ultra-conservative Keyhan daily and represents Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at the Keyhan Institute.

2:15 PM Tehran time - 9:45 AM UTC
ePersian radio's reporter says that protesters are going towards Vanak Square (NB Far north of the official routes) on foot and in cars: 'I'm a kilometer from Vanak Square and there are no security forces in sight.'
Caller to Radio Farda: 'I'm on Keshavarz Boulevard (NB along one of the official routes to Tehran University). Listen to the chants!' The crowd is crying out: 'Long live Karroubi, Mousavi may you stand long!' 'If Karroubi is arrested, Iran will be in turmoil!'
Live on mobile telephone: 'Huge numbers of people on Karim Khan Zand Street (NB next to Vali Asr Square). The protesters are going into vali Asr Street.' Chant in background: 'With God's help we will reach victory, death to this deceitful government!'

2:00 PM Tehran time - 9:30 AM UTC
A video purporting to show Hafez Street (NB running north-south, five blocks east of Tehran University), Tehran, today has been posted. Again, the slogans which are chanted appear to confirm this.

1:45 PM Tehran time - 9:15 AM UTC
At Abbas Abad Crossroads, cars honking in support of protesters as they chant: 'Palestine, where are you? You should see Kahrizak!' (NB Referring to Kahrizak detention center, site of much prisoner abuse and rape.) The crowd begins singing Yareh Dabestaniyeh Man, an iconic protest song of the student movement.
Protesters appear to be spreading across town, towards Fatemi, Takhteh Tavous, Vanak, Abbas Abad... and not necessarily going towards Tehran University anymore.

1:15 PM Tehran time - 8:45 AM UTC
Caller on ePersian: (honking in the background) 'I'm at Takhteh Tavous crossroads and we're going up towards Vanak Square (NB This is away from Tehran University, going north towards a section of town which has been the scene of many nighttime demonstrations.) Chants in the background: 'Rape, torture, no longer have any effect!'
Caller on Radio Farda: 'I'm on Karim Khan Zand Street (NB Street leading from 7th Tir Square to Tehran University). It's 10:40 AM in Tehran. There are a hundred times more protesters than Basijis. (anti-regime chants can be heard in the background.)'
Another caller on Radio Farda: 'I'm on Karim Khan Zand. There are even more people than on June 15.'
Another caller on Radio Farda: 'I was in Paramount Street in Shiraz earlier and I saw things that made me cry. The club-wielders of the regime and the Revolutionary Guards were attacking the people with such ferocity! I saw a kid that they caught in a side street, his mother was pleading, and they sprayed him the face with gas.'
ePersian Radio continues to broadcast live coverage of protest and anti-regime chanters.
Another video posted by Mehdi Saharkhiz, son of jailed journalist Issa Saharkhiz, purports to show a protest earlier in Isfahan. The location appears to be outside Isfahan University. The chants, 'Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran', substantiates the claim that it is from today.

Caller from Mashhad to ePersian Radio: 'I was at the rally earlier. There were a lot of protesters along the route to Imam Reza's shrine.'

1:00 PM Tehran time - 8:30 AM UTC
Caller Hassan ePersian Radio: 'At Enghelab Square, a huge crowd responded to calls of 'Death to Israel!' and 'Death to England!' with their own 'Death to Russia!' They've blocked all the protesters at Jamalzadeh Street (NB A street running north-south to the west of Tehran University.)
Ahmadinejad engages in Holocaust-denial in his speech at Tehran University.
Several green-clad demonstrators were arrested along the route to Imam Reza's shrine. Security forces used tear gas on the crowds.

12:45 PM Tehran time - 8:15 AM UTC
Crowd accompanying Mehdi Karroubi on Keshavarz Boulevard in the direction of Tehran University are chanting: 'Karroubi, the idol-breaker, break the great idol!'
Caller to ePersian Radio: 'The footage on state TV is from previous years. This is clear because this year's official banner is red with a photo of Khamenei.'

12:30 PM Tehran time - 8:00 AM UTC
First purported footage of today's protests begin appearing on YouTube. This YouTube channel contends the video is of today's protest in Shiraz. It is hard to determine the city, but the slogan 'Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran' seems to indicate that it is from today.

12:15 PM Tehran time - 7:45 AM UTC
Western media starts taking note, as the BBC issues a 'Breaking News' report.
Swedish television starts reporting on the protests.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, having arrived under heavy escort earlier, is delivering his speech at Tehran University.
Caller to ePersian Radio: 'Channel 2 is broadcasting the speech of the people's choice.' Host Ghaem-Maghami: 'Yes, we're listening to his rubbish. Let's go to something else. I can't take this.'

12:00 PM Tehran time - 7:30 AM UTC
Iranian state TV starts broadcasting footage from previous years.
Massive crowds on Karim Khan Zand Street and Keshavarz Boulevard, between 7th Tir Square and Vali Asr Square. 
On Vali Asr Square: 'Liar, liar! Where is your 63%?'
'Long live Saanei!' (Grand Ayatollah Youssef Saanei, who has spoken virulently against the regime)
Keshavarz Boulevard: 'Death to the dictator!' 

11:45 AM Tehran - 7:15 AM UTC
Iranian state TV says that unfortunately the police has not allowed it to film the Ghods Day rallies from a helicopter.
On Vali Asr Square: 'Neither Western, nor Eastern, an Iranian Republic!' (Contrast with the revolution era slogan which ended 'Islamic Republic'.) 'Political prisoners must be freed!' 'Death to Russia!'
On Vali Asr Square: Crowd starts loudly singing patriotic song 'Ey Iran!'

11:15 AM Tehran time - 6:45 AM UTC
Iranian state television is broadcasting live footage of the crowds on Palestine Street without any sound.
'Death to the dictator!' and 'Death to Russia!' in response to 'Down with the USA!' on Karim Khan Zand Street
Massive Green presence near Paramount (15 Khordad) street.
Karroubi is arriving at Keshavarz Boulevard. Trucks with sound systems are trying to drown out the protesters' chants, to no avail. People are carrying photos of Karroubi and Neda. 'Death to Russia' as people raise their hands and wave green ribbons.

11:00 AM Tehran time - 6:30 AM UTC
Iranian channel 2 state TV is broadcasting live segments only lasting seconds.
Mehdi Karroubi arrives between Hafteh Tir Square and Vali Asr Square to massive acclaim.
'Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein' live between 7th Tir and Vali Asr Squares

10:45 AM Tehran time - 6:15 AM UTC
Al Arabiya TV: reports of clashes between protesters and security forces in Isfahan.
Chant and counter-chant on Enghelab Sq, opposition and regime supporters on opposite sides of the square.
Live from Enghelab Square, on ePersian Radio:'Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran!'

10:15 AM Tehran time - 5:45 AM UTC
Large green crowd at Enghelab Square, the people have come out in large numbers. (woman calling on ePersian Radio)
At Hafteh Tir Square, chants of 'Deah to the dictator!' (broadcast live from mobile phone)
Chant-master says 'Death to Israel', the people respond 'Death to Russia!'

Official marching routes for Ghods Day, Friday 18 September 2009

Following the government's refusal to grant licenses to the opopsition for peaceful marches, the green movement has announced plans to attend Ghods Day rallies in the millions.

Ghods Day, the last Friday of Ramadan, is an annual event created by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to support Palestinians and oppose Israel. However, numerous opposition web sites have declared that the slogan for tomorrow will be 'Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life only for Iran!'

Leading figures, including Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and former President Mohammad Khatami have declared their intention to participate in tomorrow's marches, along official routes determined by the regime.

The following maps illustrate the marching routes in major cities. To access the maps directly in Google Maps, click on the links below the maps.

Tehran - 7 routes ending at Tehran University, start of marches 10 AM.

Friday Prayers will be led at Tehran University by hard-line cleric Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Khatami and will be preceded by a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

View Tehran - 20090918 - Ghods Day - Friday 18 September 2009 in a larger map

Isfahan - Start of march: 10 AM - Enghelab Square

View Isfahan - 20090918 - Ghods Day - Friday 18 September 2009 in a larger map

Tabriz - Start of march: 10 AM - Abresan Crossroads

View Tabriz - 20090918 - Ghods Day - Friday 18 September 2009 in a larger map

Mashhad - Start of march: 9:30 AM - 15 Khordad Square

View Mashhad - 20090918 - Ghods Day - Friday 18 September 2009 in a larger map