Sunday, December 6, 2009

Live blog - Student Day - Monday, 7 December 2009

That's it for today. I'll try to present a more detailed picture of today's protests through eyewitness accounts, footage, and photos tomorrow.

4:45 PM GMT - 8:15 PM Tehran time
First footage purportedly from today in Gilan University:

4:30 PM GMT - 8:00 PM Tehran time
First footage purportedly from today in Kermanshah University:

Caller to BBC Persian: All these dates and ceremonies that the Islamic Republic has stuffed into Iran's calendar have become a thorn in the regime's side. I guarantee that there will be another occasion very soon for us to protest once again.

Callers from Isfahan, Yazd, Ilam, and Tabriz describe widespread protests against the government.

4:00 PM GMT - 7:30 PM Tehran time
The following are accounts by callers and e-mailers on BBC Persian's 'Your Turn' program.

Mehran from Tehran: They bused Basijis into Tehran University and they were given loudspeakers. I didn't see anyone get arrested, but I saw some students getting beaten up.

Ramin in Tehran: The Basijis were even more violent than on November 4. I saw a girl being dragged on the ground in Amir Kabir University by the Basijis.

Nahid in Tehran: The people were supporting the students, even though the security forces showed particular violence. I was on a bus when they threw a tear gas canister into the vehicle. The bus driver had to open the doors so we could get out. There was so much tear gas that even some police officers asked us for cigarettes so they could use the smoke to counter the tear gas.

Massoud in Mazandaran: The plainclothesmen attacked Sari University, where I study. We'll fight to the last drop of our blood for freedom. The people outside the university were supporting us. I heard from a friend at Rasht University that it was the same situation over there. I've had my share of being beaten with batons and I'm not afraid any more. We have no hope. We're just studying to keep busy.

Email from a student from Sanandaj University: The university was in turmoil today. We'll continue fighting for our rights.

Email from Ahvaz: It was like martial law. Every group of even two or three people was attacked by security forces.

Email from Shiraz: Young and old, man and woman, were beaten. We'll keep coming, even if they might kill us.

3:45 PM GMT - 7:15 PM Tehran time
To be fair and balanced, here's a photo of Basijis at Tehran University (looks more like 6.3% than 63%. Please compare to previous footage of the large number of protesters singing 'Yareh Dabestani Man' at Tehran University.):

3:30 PM GMT - 7:00 PM Tehran time
Disturbing reports of vicious attacks on students at Hamedan's Bou Ali Sina University. Gooya News writes that several students were seriously injured, including a young man who was thrown out of an upstairs window by Basijis. The young man had been transferred to a hospital.

Photo of protest at Science and Research Azad University:


3:00 PM GMT - 6:30 PM Tehran time
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi called for talks with those who protest the results of the elections. 'After all, there are 13 or 14 million of them, and they're citizens of this country too,' he said. Makarem Shirazi was referring to the 'official results' of the presidential election which claimed Mousavi had garnered about 14 million votes (less than 37%).

Demonstrators in the streets of Isfahan:

'Death to Khamenei!':

2:45 PM GMT - 6:15 PM Tehran time
A rock-strewn street in Tehran, purportedly earlier today, as protesters shout 'Khamenei is a murderer, his guardianship is annulled!':

And the same message on another street:

2:30 PM GMT - 6:00 PM Tehran time
More footage purportedly from Mashhad earlier today:

Caller on ePersian Radio: I'm on Vali Asr and people are still arriving.

Various reports claim that Hashemi Rafsanjani's daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, was arrested at the Science and Research University. This footage purports to show Faezeh Hashemi at a demonstration today:

Science and Technology students shouting through the fence atthe security forces - 'Get lost paid lackeys!' and 'Death to the dictator!':

Purportedly on Jomhouri Street earlier today:

2:15 PM GMT - 5:45 PM Tehran time
Tehran is so unequivocally in turmoil that even sites close to the regime have to admit something is going on. Tabnak reported an hour ago that protests were taking place at Science and Research University (Elm-o Tahghighat), Science and Industry University (Elm-o Sanat), and Sharif University. Minutes ago, Tabnak reported that shots had been fired into the air on Enghelab Street and that tear gas had been employed on Vali Asr Square and Vali Asr Street. Tabnak belongs to former IRGC commander and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai.

Caller to ePersian Radio: The security forces are dismayed and exhausted. Only 30% of security forces are cracking down on the people. The rest aren't doing anything. You should see the energy and courage of the women. If only a few more people join us, we can take over Enghelab Street. Tell people to join us.

2:00 PM GMT - 5:30 PM Tehran time
Amir Kabir University student leader Majid Tavakoli was arrested minutes ago when he left the campus. Tavakoli was released from prison on June 3, after his second stint in Evin.

Photos of plainclothes regime goons arresting a protester near Enghelab Street:

1:45 PM GMT - 5:15 PM Tehran time
Very heavy traffic is reported in Tehran. The opposition planned to bring traffic to a standstill at 5 PM and had called on protesters to simply come out into the streets with their cars.

Photos posted by the Jonbesheh Raheh Sabz (Green Path Movement) show police working alongside club-wielding plainclothesmen and Basijis, some very young, as they throw rocks at opposition protesters in streets near Tehran University:

1:30 PM GMT - 5:00 PM Tehran time
First footage coming in from Kerman University:

Footage showing Amir Kabir students breaking the locked university gate, as was reported previously in this blog:

First footage coming from Khajeh Nassir Tousi University:

Bardia, reporter for ePersian Radio, on-site in Tehran: I'm near Enghelab Square. When I reported for you on November 4 (NB Anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy, when opposition protesters exploited the official ceremonies to stage mass rallies), the demonstrations petered out around 2:30 PM. But now, it's almost 5 PM, and the protests are still going on. They're beating the people, but the protesters aren't leaving. I even think that a few individuals were killed. I saw some people lying on the ground, other protesters surrounding them, but the demonstrations are still going on. 

1:10 PM GMT - 4:40 PM Tehran time
Footage of the large number of students at Tehran University singing the protest anthem 'Yareh Dabestani Man':

Footage purportedly showing elderly lady as she recovers after being beaten by security forces:

Amir Kabir University students wave money at Basijis because they are paid lackeys:

12:40 PM GMT - 4:10 PM Tehran time
ePersian Radio has been struck off the Hotbird satellite by electrical interference, making it impossible for Iranians to listen to the programs, according to ePersian reports which can still be heard on the Internet.

First footage coming in from Isfahan University:

'Salute to the protesting students':

Footage of Elm-o Sanat University... 'We are women and men of war, fight and we'll fight back!'

12:30 PM GMT - 4:00 PM Tehran time
Tabnak news, former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai's news site, confirms that 'plainclothesmen entered Amir Kabir University and broke windows.'

The Islamic Republic News Agency has finally reported that clashes have broken out between protesters ('rioters') and security forces in the streets around Tehran University.

The following footage purports to be from today. Of note: Protesters in T-shirts may mean the video is from earlier this year, however I have not seen this footage before:

12:10 PM GMT - 3:40 PM Tehran time
Protesters are fighting back in several locations around Tehran: Ferdowsi Square, Vali Asr Street, Enghelab Street, 7th Tir Square. The security forces are countering protesters in 7th Tir Square with particular aggression.

This video is purportedly of Amir Kabir University at around 1:30 PM local time:

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

And other photos from Amir Kabir University. The neighboring Arts College entrance can be seen, with the words 'Mousavi' and a green 'V' spray-painted on it:


11:55 AM GMT - 3:25 PM Tehran time
Photo purporting to be from Elm-o Sanat University:

And Amir Kabir Polytechnic University:

11:40 AM GMT - 3:10 PM Tehran time
Plainclothesmen led a charge into Amir Kabir University and threw rocks at the students. But they quickly retreated. Unfortunately several students were injured in the attack.

Young woman to Radio Farda: Students who attempted to leave the university individually were arrested. I'm sorry, I have to run. They're attacking the people from the south, from Vali Asr Junction. We were told the demo would be from 10 AM to 5 PM, but this is going to go on until late into the night.

Young man to Radio Farda: The protesters have lit a trash can on fire to counter the tear gas. The sky is full of rocks being thrown from both sides.

Young man to Radio Farda: It's 1PM and I'm at Ferdowsi Square. The situation is much worse than I thought. Tehran has become an army barracks. The people are simply asking for their rights, but in front of us, there are people who do not refrain from using their batons, even against mothers. There are a lot of people 7th Tir Square, going towards Tehran University. This is a lose-lose situation for the regime. I just hope that a heavy toll is not imposed on the people.

11:20 AM GMT - 2:50 PM Tehran time
Tabnak, the news site of former Revolutionary Guards head and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai, has published a report confirming the unprecedented security presence around Tehran's universities. The report, posted an hour ago, also speaks of heavy automobile traffic hours before the opposition's planned 5 PM attempt to bring traffic in the capital to a halt. 'On Enghelab Street, from Vali Asr Junction to Enghelab Square, heavy traffic has been reported. The police is attempting to alleviate the problem by directing cars into the bus lane,' Tabnak writes. Tabnak, still close to the regime, claims that there are no protests in universities or the streets.

11:05 AM GMT - 2:35 PM Tehran time
Ferdowsi Square and streets leading to it are the scenes of widespread clashes, according to a caller on ePersian Radio. Caller claims protesters are preparing Molotov cocktails to throw atthe security forces and their motorcycles.

Security forces are attacking protesters on Vali Asr Street, near gate of Amir Kabir Polytechnic University. A poster of Ahmadinejad was set on fire, according to university source, and tear gas was fired into the crowd. Regime goons broke into the university and started breaking windows.

Al Arabiya reports that Ferdowsi University in Mashhad is in chaos. Reporter says this is the beginning of the end for the regime.

New footage purporting to be from Amir Kabir University from much earlier today:

10:55 AM GMT - 2:25 PM Tehran time
Reports of very harsh skirmishes in Abou Reyhan Street near Tehran University. A Basij motorcycle was set on fire. A young woman is said to be leading the protesters, according to ePersian Radio.

Serious problems in mobile telephone and Internet services in Tehran.

10:40 AM GMT - 2:10 PM Tehran time
Video purporting to be from Mashhad's Ferdowsi University earlier today. 'Basiji get lost!':

Severe clashes reported on Jomhouri Street, between Hafez and Istanbul streets. Tear gas was fired into covered walkways and malls where protesters were taking refuge.

Al Arabiya reports that live rounds were fired in Palestine Street, near Tehran University.

Caller to ePersian Radio: I'm on 7th Tir Square. The girls are like judo fighters! You should see the girls, how they hit the plainclothesmen with sticks and stones and then run away! But they're getting beaten too.

10:30 AM GMT - 2:00 PM Tehran time
Bardia, ePersian radio reporter on site: I'm in front of Amir Kabir University. Massive number of security troops have moved into the street and are beating people mercilessly. They're really savagely pounding the people. I don't know how many people died today. I personally saw two ladies who were sprawled on the street.

10:25 AM GMT - 1:55 PM Tehran time
Footage purpoting to be of Basij motorcyclists rushing towards Tehran University:

Amir Kabir University gate has been broken, according to the university student organization's live blog.

10:15 AM GMT - 1:45 PM Tehran time
First videos purporting to be from Tehran University this morning. Of note: Flags are the Iranian tricolor without the seal of the Islamic Republic:

10:10 AM GMT - 1:40 PM Tehran time
First photos of Amir Kabir University coming in... The small group holding banners in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo are the Basijis. The rest are the anti-regime protesters.

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

10:00 AM GMT - 1:30 PM Tehran time
Crowd growing in Imam Hossein Square, according to several reports.

Fars news, close to the Revolutionary Guards, only reports that 2,000 pro-regime students are demonstrating at Tehran University and chanting 'Death to opponents of the Supreme Leader!' as they make their way to the university mosque.

9:50 AM GMT - 1:20 PM Tehran time
About 2,000 Amir Kabir students are facing off a group of about 200 plainclothesmen and a few Basij students at the main gate on Vali Asr Street, according to the university's live blog.

9:45 AM GMT - 1:15 PM Tehran time
Reports of clashes between plainclothesmen and students at Najafabad Azad University in Isfahan.

9:40 AM GMT - 1:10 PM Tehran time
Arak University students burned Ahmadinejad's photgraph, according to ePersian Radio.

Tajrish Square, northern Tehran, is being blocked by security forces attempting to stop protesters from going downtown.

Caller to ePersian Radio: I live across from Tehran University and saw Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's wife, trying to get into Tehran University. She was repelled by the police.

Caller from 7th Square: (loud sounds of protesters chanting and cars honking incessantly) I'm on 7th Tir Square. I ran over from Ferdowsi Square. The people are chanting. I can't talk any longer.

9:30 AM GMT - 1:00 PM Tehran time
First footage coming from behind Sharif University's main gate. 'Poliseh zedeh shouresh, Ahmadi-ro beshouresh!' (Anti-riot police, go wash Ahmadi!)

9:25 AM GMT - 12:55 PM Tehran time
Protest has started at Tabriz University while growing number of people outside the university are beaten by security forces as they try to approach the campus from Falakeh.

Green kites are being flown inside Sharif University and can be seen by protesters outside the campus, according to Khabar online.

New important slogan: 'Mousavi bahanast, kolleh nezam neshounast!' (Mousavi is an excuse, the whole regime is the target!)

9:05 AM GMT - 12:35 PM Tehran time
As heavy rain falls on the city: 'Natarsid, natarsid, ma hameh ba ham hastim!' (Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, we're all together!) Crowd growing in Mollah Sadra street and Danshjou Junction as regime goons attack the people.

Today's slogans:
'Khamanei bedouneh, bezoudi sarnegouneh!' (Khamanei should know that he will soon be overthrown!)
'Ghazeh-o Lobnan kaman, raftan soragheh Yaman!' (Gaza and Lebanon weren't enough, they've gone to Yemen!)

9:00 AM GMT - 12:30 PM Tehran time
Streets surrounding Ferdowsi Square are suddenly filling up with people all the way to Imam Hossein Square.

Live on ePersian Radio: Sounds of chanting on Ferdowsi square. Seconds later, the caller shouts, 'No, don't beat--' and is cut off.

8:50 AM GMT - 12:20 PM Tehran time
Caller to ePersian Radio: Students were shouting 'Death to the dictator! behind Tehran University gates. People in the street chanted in support of the students. Then Basiji motorcyclists carged the people who dispersed into the side streets. But they regroyuped minutes later. There are clashes near Amir Kabir University, north of Vali Asr Junction.

8:35 AM GMT - 12:05 PM Tehran time
Caller to ePersian Radio: I'm in front of the Enghelab Hotel on Takhteh Jamshid. The crowd is growing by the minute. On Vali Asr, they were beating the people in front of the City Theater. The Basijis on motorcycles would come onto the sidewalk and either shoot in the air or use some kind of firework with a loud bang.

8:30 AM GMT - 12:00 PM Tehran time
Several reports that the sound of 'Death to the dictator' can heard inside Sharif University.

Eyewitness to Mardomak: Demonstration in front of Leader Khamenei's representative office inside Shahid Beheshti University.

8:15 AM GMT - 11:45 AM Tehran time
Hassan, caller on ePersian Radio: People are clashing with the security forces in Enghelab (Revolution) Square. A large number of people have managed to make it here. Enghelab Square is in trumoil! Skirmishes on the side of Tehran University towards Foozieh. 

Bardia, reporter for ePersian Radio: I'm at 24 Esfand Square (old name of Enghelab Square), going towards Vali Asr. They're beating the people. (to security forces) Don't beat them! Don't beat them! Okay, I'll leave. (to radio host) They fired into the air. The women are cursing the security troops. This is just a small part of the street that I'm talking about, but clashes are occurring all along Enghelab Street. (sounds of demonstrators chanting 'Political prisoners must be freed!' and 'Death to the dictator!') Yes, yes, I'm leaving. (Bardia's phone is cut.)

8:00 AM GMT - 11:30 AM Tehran time
A strange report in today's ultra-conservative Keyhan daily says that opposition leaders will seek to radicalize the student movement through 'student deaths' in today's protests. Regime covering its backside and blaming any deaths today on agents of the opposition?

7:45 AM GMT - 11:15 AM Tehran time
Reuters reports heavy police presence surrounding Tehran University.

Caller on ePersian Radio says mobile telephone service is disrupted. He is in the subway, which is particularly busy, and on his way to Tehran University.

7:30 AM GMT - 11:00 AM Tehran time
First photos of Tehran University this morning... As previously reported, white banners around Tehran University and security troops stationed every few meters around the campus perimeter:

7:15 AM GMT - 10:45 AM Tehran time
Security forces have set up barriers around Tehran University and white banners have been hoisted around the fences to prevent people from seeing inside the campus. The banners have slogans wishing Muslims a happy Eid Al-Ghadir.

Caller to ePersian Radio: I'm at Azadi Square now and there are thousands of security troops stationed along the streets. Main gate of Tehran University is closed and they're hiding the interior of the campus with banners.

Opposition web sites report plainclothesman, Basijis on motorcycles, regular police, in the thousands at Ferdowsi Square to Enghelab Square, Towhid Junction to Sharif University, Azadi Street. Passengers on Tehran buses were taking photos of the 'martial presence.' A bus driver said that Tehran transit drivers have been told that bus lines passing through the Enghelab-Azadi area may be closed today.

7:00 AM GMT - 10:30 AM Tehran time
Six routes planned for today's marches, starting at 3 PM in order to arrive at Tehran University at 5 PM:
1. Azadi Square - Enghelab Square - Tehran University
2. Sattar Khan - Tehran University
3. 7th Tir Square - Karim Khan Zand Street - Tehran University
4. University Street - North Kargar Street - Tehran University
5. Amir Kabir University - Vali Asr - Tehran University
6. Ferdowsi Square - Tehran University

Caller on ePersian Radio describes massive security presence already at Ferdowsi Square, preventing pedestrians from walking towards Tehran University.

6:30 AM GMT - 10:00 AM Tehran time
Strong security presence surrounding Tehran University, according to caller on ePersian Radio.

Last night
In anticipation of Student Day, Iranians had been called to shout from their rooftops. Here are a few videos from last nights chants...

Basij commander allegedly shoots Tehran traffic control chief in the foot

Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the new head of the Basij militia, shot the Tehran traffic control chief, Hojjatollah Behrouz, in the foot at a crisis meeting on Tuesday, December 1, according to opposition web sites.

The meeting had been called to prepare for opposition plans to bring Tehran automobile traffic to a halt on December 7, Student Day in Iran, at 5 PM. The opposition, particularly students, are expected to hold mass protests throughout the country on that day.

opposition poster
The Basij commander allegedly pulled out his sidearm during a heated exchange with Behrouz and shot him in the foot, according to an e-mail reproduced on opposition web sites. The e-mail purports to be from a journalist in a reformist newspaper. Some reports claim the journalist belongs to the editorial staff of Aftabeh Yazd daily and that the newspaper's editor-in-chief has decided not to publish the news in tomorrow's edition.

Senior IRGC officers and traffic control directors attended the emergency meeting held on Tuesday, according to a participant, to discuss ways to counter deliberate disruptions in Tehran's automobile traffic on December 7. Tempers rose when traffic control chief Behrouz apparently told Naghdi that it would be impossible to neutralize such efforts if they were widespread.

'This news has been reported through several channels [...] and it appears to be true,' said Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of the IRGC and currently a dissident in Washington, in his daily video address on Sunday (starts at 5:03 mark):

'At a meeting held at the traffic control center in Tehran's City hall, Mr. Hojjatollah Behrouz said that his office and Tehran's City Hall did not have the capability to control people who were planning to block traffic by coming out into the streets with their cars on December 7,' says Sazegara in the video. 'General Naghdi [...], with his corrupt record, apparently lost his temper and shot Mr. Behrouz in the foot and sent him to the hospital.'