Student’s Day Protests Live Blog – December 7, (16 Azar in Iran)


[11:00PM Tehran Time]

The following video has surfaced, showing that girls in an Iran high school protesting (via Iran1st):

Just an opinion, but when high school girls are protesting, you have to know that the protests are in the mainstream.

[10:40PM Tehran Time]

What a day it has been.

There are reports of Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, being at the protests. I have not confirmed this, but a trusted source is indicating that there was an altercation between her and government forces, in which she was possibly badly hurt.

Also receiving more reports of shots fired against unarmed protesters, only this time they say it was plastic bullets. The Telegraph UK published this article on the matter: (Iranian Police Shoot at Unarmed Protesters During Tehran Demonstrations.

A video has surfaced showing Rafsanjani’s daughter joining the protests (via Twitter user, Oxfordgirl). If this is confirmed to be from today it means that Rafsanjani, who has been under a lot of political pressure, and who just yesterday spoke in defense of his son who is studying abroad, will likely have to defend his daughter now:

As more videos, images and news come in throughout the day we will continue to post them. It is not late in Tehran, and I’m seeing multiple reports coming in of very loud chants of “Allaho Akbar” in Tehran.

[6:07PM Tehran Time]

Protesters in Tehran University curse at plain-clothed regime operatives as they film them. The filming of the protesters by the regime serves two purposes, (1) it’s an attempt to intimidate them and (2) the regime can use the videos to try to identify protesters. The students aren’t buying it though.

Chants of “Natarseed, Natarseed, Mah hameh bah ham hasteem!” or “Don’t be afraid, Don’t be afraid, we are all in this together!” are followed by insults directed at the regime goons:

[5:53PM Tehran Time]

We have witnessed today yet another success for the movement for freedom and civil rights in Iran, called the Green Movement, a movement of the people.

We have seen bravery in the face of tyranny, again.

The strategy of co-opting official ceremonies and regime symbols appears to be working. What has happened is that the people have continued to make space for themselves to continue with further protests.

The people of Iran are showing a resiliency and cohesion that many simply didn’t believe they would be able to pull off. Six months post-stolen-election, the movement lives on strong.

[5:45PM Tehran Time]

A video that confirms a previous report of protesters waving flags without symbols in white section via Josh Shahryar:

[5:35PM Tehran Time]

From Homylafayette, another video from another university, this time from Khajeh Nasir Tousih University, people chanting “Down with the dictator!”:

[5:30PM Tehran Time]

Important point: I have still not been able to confirm that report of gunshots fired earlier today. At this point, it could very well have been a false report. I just don’t know, but will keep looking for confirmation or at least a corroboration report.

[5:15PM Tehran Time]

A video of people chanting “Down with Khamenei” in public! This was unheard of before the June 12 rigged presidential election, but istances of this chant are becoming more common and have been seen in previous protests, including the November 4 protests. At the end of the video you here someone chant “Khamenei is a criminal! His rule is forfeit!” Here is the video via Negar Chevre:

[5:09PM Tehran Time]

Another video from Amir Kabir University. People are flashing money, apparently at Basij. Not sure what it means exactly. Will seek clarification. Video via Josh Shahryar:

[5:01PM Tehran Time]

Video of students singing “Yare Dabestani” in Tehran University (via Tehran Bureau). The song is followed by a rapid succession of chants of “Marg bar Diktator!” or “Down with the Dictator!”:

[4:48PM Tehran Time]

Video: Kerman University Protest, people chanting: “Azadi, Azadi A-ZA-DI!” “Freedom, Freedom, FREEDOM!”:

[4:32PM Tehran Time]

Another video (via MikVerbrugge). Unconfirmed, but this one is supposedly from a city other than Tehran: Mashad. Azad University. In it, it sounds like people are chanting “Basiji boro gohm sho!” or “Basiji go get lost!”

[4:24PM Tehran Time]

From Mehdi Saharkhiz, a picture of what looks like plainclothes Basij vigilantes, mixed with uniformed forces, and possibly protesters (click to enlarge):

16azar-those-who-beat-people

[4:16PM Tehran Time]

Picture of Tehran street shrouded in tear gas (source):

16-azar-tear-gas

[4:06PM Tehran Time]

Another video: extremely intense!

Chants:

- “Basiji Vahshi Shodeh!” -> “Basijis have gone wild!”
- “Marg Bar Diktator!” -> “Down with the Dictator!”
- “Allaho Akbar! Allaho Akbar!” -> “God is great!”
- “Victory is Gods, and victory is near!”

Then you see people breaking through the doors of the univesity:

The protests have continued to metastasize into more vocal, more forceful opposition to the regime.

[3:55PM Tehran Time]

An audio report live from the scene at one of the universities from Radio Farda. A girl bravely answering questions while acting as an eye-witness as the events unfold. The audio is in Farsi. At the end of the audio she apologizes to the interviewer for having to run for her life: “I’m sorry, I have to run! They are attacking us from below! I’m sorry!”

There is fear in her voice, masked by an intense bravery.

Listen to audio from the scene here.

[3:45PM Tehran Time]

From source, Twitter user IranRiggedElect, Youtube video of AlJazeera Report:

[3:40PM Tehran Time]

Photo of protesters carrying signs and green ribbon at Amir Kabir University:

16 Azar - Amir Kabir 2

[3:15PM Tehran Time]

The videos are pouring in now. I will try to get them up as fast as I can. Here are a two:

From Amir Kabir University, people singing and chanting “Down with YOU!” Obviously targeted at the regime:

Video of protests at Polytechnic University: Watch the video.

CNN reports that huge number of security forces are around Tehran University. The gates are shut, but large crowds inside are chanting “Death to the dictator”.

MikVerbrugge reports that many protesters are flying the Republican tri-color banner of Iran (the flag without an emblem). This means they are essentially taking the symbol of the Islamic Republic off the flag. He also reports that several groups have attacked Basijis at Somayeh Street and forced them to flee and abandon buses with arrested students. I can’t confirm these reports, if true this is a very big deal. He also confirms that there are heavy clashes at Tehran University, with severe beatings and arrests of students. He reports that there are heavy clashes at Haft-Tir Square. Also reports that several groups are marching towards IRIB (official state broadcasting agency) chanting battle slogan.

Another source is claiming that the protests are spreading into the streets and alleys surrounding Eghelab Square.

Clearly there is a lot happening, but all is hard to confirm.

[2:55PM Tehran Time]

There are reports coming in from credible sources indicating that clashes are taking place in front of Tehran University in which tear gas may have been used.

I am still trying to confirm the report about gunshots fired. I must stress this point: the report is unconfirmed. It is very difficult to confirm reports at this time. Since the regime in Iran has virtually banned all foreign media from covering any protests outside of ones in which the government’s own bussed in supporters are participating, we have to work with reports that are often through word of mouth (or keyboard). We have to rely on the source’s trustworthiness which can only be ascertained over months of paying attention to them and analysing their information for veracity (often well after the events were unfolding on the ground). Having said that, nobody can deny that the word is getting out from Iran, and people are definitely still protesting, the Green Movement is definitely still alive, and the people are succeeding in showing the world that the protests are not going away anytime soon.

I have already posted this earlier, but in case you have not been following the live-blog from earlier in the day, here is my analysis of the Green Movement: Why the Green Movement Will Prevail. It’s a lengthy article, so for now you may want to just bookmark it and come back to it later to get my perspective on the movement.

[2:49PM Tehran Time]

(Source: Gooya) Another picture from earlier in the day when regime forces were amassed in front of Tehran University:

16azar-tehuniv-1stpics-1

[2:29PM Tehran Time]

BBC’s decent report on the situation in Iran today has been posted on Youtube. Some interesting points that the commentator, John Leyne makes:

(1) “People don’t want another revolution. They didn’t think the 1979 one turned out well…want gradual change…think this will have a better effect in the long run.”

(2) “Very unstable situation in Iran now. People say it’s very unpredictable. We didn’t expect the scale and durability of these protests. Difficult to tell what will happen next.”

(3) “They want to keep the opposition movement alive…Already more protests planned. The holy month of Moharram is starting in just 10 days time. That leads up to the big holy day, for Shia Muslims, of Ashura in 20 days time, which everyone expects will be a big day of protest.”

(4) “The main goal of the opposition right now is to keep the movement alive, to keep pressure on the government, and of course the government would like to silence them. They would like to go back to life as normal. I’m sure at the end of the day they [the government] will say that nothing much happened and it was just a minority.”

Just a small minority…. riiiiiight…. I suppose even if it truly was a minority (which it is not) then that would still be a huge deal considering that you have what is essentially, arguably a defacto military curfew in Iran right now.

[2:21PM Tehran Time]

Unconfirmed, but from reliable source Mahdi Saharkhiz, first reports of people shot! An eye-witness report that machine guns were used by security forces from on top of the roof of a Ministry of Education building:

Am just coming back from Palestine Street in Tehran and its cross-road with Enghelab Ave. where Art University is located.

I was there in the pedestrian when University Students come out of University Chanting Death to Dictator and pouring into street.

Some 500 had come out when sound of Bullets shot by small pistols heard.

Everyone was shocked. I was wondering where these bullets are coming from.
Opposite to this University, there is a Govt. Bldg belonging to Ministry of Higher Education and from rooftop sound of Machine Guns was heard while there was some individual bullet shots. I my self had 20-30 meters distance with them when they were hit by some bullets. I can not confirm how many but some ppl were injured and I myself saw a young man on shoulders of his friends who was bleeding and shot in the head. I followed them to the Palestine Street when they took the injured students inside the Univ. campus. (And I am not a student to follow them inside)

I don’t know about other incidents but I am sure in other parts of the Enghelab Ave. and Azadi Ave. the same situation can be seen.

The Police did not use the Teargas first or stopping the students by making a dam in front of them. As soon as they came out of University, shot them.

Isn’t it Crime Against Humanity!

[2:13PM Tehran Time]

BBC reports:

“After the election the chants were only about people getting their votes back, but now it is more about the system and leaders themselves.”

This is consistent with the reports of chants that I have been getting. We don’t hear “Where is my vote?” anymore. The chants are mostly directed at the regime and its leaders in general.

[2:00PM Tehran Time]

A video posted on Facebook purported to be from today’s protests shows large crowds chanting, “Marg bar Diktator!” or “Down with the Dictator!” I can’t confirm at this time whether this is from today at this time.

Watch the video

Another video showing massive crowds, also unconfirmed:

Watch the video

[1:42PM Tehran Time]

There are lots of reports coming in from Iran now, difficult to confirm anything so I’m relying to a large extent on the sources that have proven themselves to be solid over the past 6 months of covering the post-Iran-election 2009 aftermath.

Here are some of the latest:

(1) Security forces appear to have honed their “crowd control” (crowd intimidation is probably more suitable a phase). They are preventing people in Vali-Asr and Enghelab squares from gathering by forcing them to move on. If people stop, they are likely to be attacked with batons. Forces appear to be especially targeting young people.

(2) Some protesters in Tehran and Tabriz, according to MikVerbrugge, are chanting:

Khamenei, know that you’re doomed! Separation of Church and Government is the people’s slogan

(3) OmidHabibinia reports:

Tehran Uni Students Came to the Street and Fight Back with R Police, Tear Gas is Used.

If you have a hard time reading the above, it translates from Twitter short form to “Tehran University students came to the street and fought back with our police, Tear gas was used.”

[1:10PM Tehran Time]

An interesting new chant has surfaced, according to reports. I haven’t heard or seen this yet via audio or video, but several reports of it have been made:

“Gaza and Lebanon were not enough, They’ve gone after Yemen!”

If this is confirmed it is an offshoot of protests that started on Qods Day when people chanted, “No Gaza, No Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.”

Understanding the meaning behind these chants by Iranian protesters requires some background understanding of Iranian foreign policy under the rule of Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). The prevailing foreign policy, especially since Ahmadinejad became president in 2005 has been to focus on the Palestinian cause, and to fight proxy wars with the west in Lebanon. The regime in Iran pays more attention to these things, in the form of lip service and Iranian national treasure, than it does to the will and the needs of the people of Iran. The chants by the protesters are meant to convey the message to the regime that the people would like them to focus on dealing with improving their lives at home instead of others.

In November there were several reports circulating in the mainstream media that Iran was lending support to Shiite rebels in Yemen, basically stirring a potential proxy war with Saudia Arabia. This is considered in Iran to be adventurous and unnecessary gallivanting abroad. Hence the protestors are basically stating that they can’t believe the gall of the regime. Not only are they messing around in Gaza and Lebanon, now they’re messing around in Yemen. This shows that the people are cognizant and very aware of the regime’s actions abroad.

[12:55PM Tehran Time]

Another video from Sharif University of students gathering. Near the end, you can hear a chant building up. Hard to make out what they are saying.

The vids are starting to come in. First one I’ve seen today: students gathered in behind Sharif University’s main entrance. They are chanting something I can’t quite make out, but you can hear something about “Police” and “Ahmadi” (short for Ahmadinejad):

[12:26PM Tehran Time]

Cellular service is down or erratic in a number of cities in Iran. Baharestan reports that public phones around Tehran University are covered with plastic bags to prevent their use and that shops in the area are obliged to close (presumably the obligation is enforced by the armed regime forces in the vicinity).

MikVerbrugge reports from a source in Iran that crowds are gathering and growing in Vali-Asr, where government agents on motorbikes are taking videos of the protesters.

Another report has come in saying that there are uprisings in Kerman in front of Bahonar University and Omran University. According to the source, people are chanting “Iranian Nation” and “Fight down the dictator”. This is unconfirmed, and I am not certain about the source so will seek confirmation.

[12:15PM Tehran Time]

Twitter user omidhabibinia reports that Azadi University, Tehran Central, has 1000+ Students gathered, chanting against the regime and asking others to join.

I have not been able to confirm, but his reports have been solid in the past.

Azad Uni Tehran Central, +1000 Students Gatherd, Chanting Against Regime Asking Others to Join. #Neda #Iranelection #iran #16Azar

[12:15PM Tehran Time]

A reliable Twitter source in Iran reports that regime forces are beating people in Enghelab Square.

[12:04PM Tehran Time]

Revolutionary Road Live Blog reports:

11:55
دانشجويان در مقابل مسجد دانشگاه جمع شده اند وهمه آماده برگزاري مراسم هستند ,قرار است در ساعت 12 دانشكده فني برنامه اي داشته باشد . تمهيدات امنيتي شديدي مثل چيدن گوني و محاصره و فضاي نظامي از جانب ماموران سركوبگر اعمال ميشود, اما دانشجويان عزم جزم كرده اند كه مراسم را برگزار نمايند .
Students are gathered in front of the university mosque and are ready for the start of the demonstration. There is an event planned at the Polytech College for 12pm. Severe security arrangements have been made by government agents, such as stacking up sacks, surrounding the campus and creating a military siege, but students are resolute in their plans to hold the ceremony.

I cannot confirm this report at this time, but Revolutionary Road has produced good reports in the past. Will seek confirmation or corroborating reports.

[11:57AM Tehran Time]

New York Times picks up on Associated Press report: Police Surround Tehran University to Stop Protests.

[11:42AM Tehran Time]

Josh Shahryar reports:

School of Veterinary Studies on Gharib St, Tehran also surrounded and occupied by police.

[11:29AM Tehran Time]

Due to the heavy police and regime presence in front of Tehran University, new routes have been proposed (source nedagain on Twitter) (Link to original picture showing the new routes):

new-routes-16-azar

The situation on the ground is very tense and dynamic. The regime has clearly tried to calibrate their approach to crowd control by creating an organized militarized environment to intimidate people.

[11:16AM Tehran Time]

Twitter user iran09 reports:

More than 50 police forces have surrounded Sharif University, preventing the parking of cars near university walls.

One tactic that protesters have used is to park cars in the streets to cause traffic jams and prevent security forces from easily traveling in the streets via motorcycle. Presumably one of the goals of the guards is to prevent this, which has been rumored in reports from Iran news blogger HomyLafayette.

[11:40 AM Tehran Time]

Gooya posts several pictures from Tehran University showing security forces in the vicinity (view the pictures here).

[11:07 AM Tehran Time]

There is an unconfirmed report of sounds of voices of protesters and demonstrations heard from inside Sharif University. Will seek to confirm.

[10:56AM Tehran Time]

Report from Iran placed on Facebook (source via Josh Shahriar, Iran_Translator on Twitter:

Freedom Messenger – Ghasedane AZADI The police are scattered from Ferdowsi Square to Enghelab Square, especially surrounding Tehran university, and from Tohid intersection to Sharif university. These groups are highly equipped with various weapons and have given the Enghelab and Azadi streets a military base-like appearance.

[10:45AM Tehran Time]

Another picture of Tehran University showing security guards positioned every few meters (source: MikVerbrugge on Twitter):

tehran-university-sidewalk-16-azar-students-day

[10:35AM Tehran Time]

A fantastic proposition! Open Web Award for @persiankiwi. Persiankiwi was one of the original heroes of the Green Movement from the beginning (right after the rigged June 12 election) reporting from Iran on Twitter. She chronicled the harrowing early days of the Green Uprising until June 24, when she posted her last haunting post as regime forces closed in on her:

Allah – you are the creator of all and all must return to you – Allah Akbar – #Iranelection Sea of Green

[10:19AM Tehran Time]

The mainstream media has been a little quicker this time around in picking up on the planned protests than on November 4. This is a good sign. Means they are paying more attention to news coming out of the grassroots outlets (including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and others).

CNN has stated that they are monitoring the situation closely, in order to be careful as it appears there is a lot of confusion.

Reuters posted an article about riot police surrounding Tehran University.

And the New York Times just posted the following report: Mothers Arrested Before Opposition Rally in Iran

By NAZILA FATHI
Published: December 7, 2009

Ahead of a planned opposition rally on Monday, Iran tightened security and arrested more than 20 mothers who were mourning children killed in the unrest that has broken out since the disputed June 12 elections.

The mothers took part in an antigovernment protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran every Saturday since the death in June of Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, whose shooting became a symbol of the government’s violent repression. The rally had been attacked by the police before, but Saturday was the first time the mothers were arrested.

An opposition Web site reported that the protest was broken up by the police and many demonstrators were taken away. The BBC Persian service quoted a witness who said 29 women were arrested, some of whom were later released. But at least 21 remained in jail, the BBC said.

Ms. Agha-Soltan’s mother regularly attended the rally, but it was not clear whether she was there on Saturday or was among those arrested.

[9:55AM Tehran Time]

The first picture I have seen from today. It’s of the entrance to Tehran University. You can see riot police on motorcycles in front of the entrance.

http://i45.tinypic.com/2w7pafa.jpg
Tehran University - Riot police in front - Morning of 16 Azar - Student's Day

I’m sure the situation is very tense on the ground, at the University and throughout Tehran and other cities in Iran.

[9:45AM Tehran Time]

Reports coming from Iran are still sparse. There are reports that some Internet connectivity exists within Tehran but it is slow and spotty. Cellular networks are unavailable in some place in the city.

There is an unconfirmed report that Azadi Street in front of Sharif University is “infested with police”.

Another unconfirmed report that Vali-Asr Square is “full of Basij, a lot of Basij” riding motorcycles.

[9:33AM Tehran Time]

Reuters reports Iranian riot police have surrounded Tehran University to prevent annual anti-government protests.

[8:30AM Tehran Time]

It has been now been 33 days since the last major protests took place in Iran. The strategy of the Green Movement, in maintaining heavy pressure on the regime by holding protests on official regime-recognized symbolic days and ceremonies, is serving as an amplifier-of cohesion in the Iranian people’s movement for civil rights and freedom. The last protest was a major success for the movement.

Here is the live-blog of November 4 protests.

This strategy is resilient because there is an implicit understanding by the people of Iran that on official regime-recognized days supporters of the movement will be active. It is a form of mobilization via the peoples’ trust in each other, based on the awakening of the movement via the realization that there are millions of people that want the same thing.

For my analysis of the Green Movement read: Why the Green Movement will Prevail.

It is early morning in Iran after an eventful day prior.

Mir-Hussein Mousavi released a statement (read it here).

Hashemi Rafsanjani made a rare appearance and an even more rare statement since a long period of being quiescent (read it here).

Sixteen members of the Mourning Mothers who gathered regularly in Laleh Park in Tehran were arrested yesterday. There are reports that several men have also been arrested.

There are reports of Basij bussed into Tehran gathered around Tehran University, and reports of regime guards monitoring homes of prominent students and people suspected of involvement in the protest movement.

This is the start of our liveblog coverage of today’s events in Iran. Refresh this page regularly for updates.

Short URL for this entry: http://bit.ly/5ZJaIR

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Dave Siavashi is the Founder and Editor of Iran News Now. He provided coverage of breaking news and analysis on events in Iran during the unrest that followed the 2009 presidential election. One of the early journalists to use social media effectively to report on breaking events, his tweets and articles have been cited in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Christian Science Monitor, Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish and publications.
  • http://www.ubervu.com/conversations/www.irannewsnow.com/2009/12/iran-students-day-protests-december7-16azar/ uberVU – social comments

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by IranNewsNow: IranNewsNow #LiveBlog of Student’s Day Protests in Iran: http://bit.ly/5ZJaIR #IranElection #16Azar…

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  • http://studentactivism.net/2009/12/06/student-day-in-iran/ 16 Azar: Student Day in Iran « Student Activism

    [...] pm Tehran time | An interesting insight from Iran News Now and the BBC: “We don’t hear ‘Where is my vote?’ anymore. The chants are mostly [...]

  • iran

    You are doing an amazing job! hats off to you

  • IranNewsNow Admin

    Thank you. I am just amazed by what these students and the people of Iran are doing. I am just trying to help get the word out.

  • iran

    Money at Basiji>>> Means: Get a life, your such a looser, here go buy yourself a snack. It is very Insulting!

  • Orange

    You are doing an amazing job…thank you! We are there with you.

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