Monday, February 21, 2011

Protests Break Out in Iran Again

The protesters refuse to go away despite the violent crackdown. Here is hoping the Iranian Revolution (GR88) can be effectively restarted. The general turmoil in the region, especially considering the success of some of those movements, should give them some renewed confidence. Hopefully (again) the Obama administration will take note this time and take proactive steps to help them instead of undercutting the movement as was done last time.

"For a second time in a week, Iran's opposition drew tens of thousands of supporters to the streets across the nation on Sunday calling for the end to the Islamic Republic's rule.

In response, the government unleashed what witnesses said was an extraordinary number of security forces to violently battle the crowds. Witnesses said mobs of anti-riot police and plainclothes Basij militia lined the streets and on several occasions fired directly into the crowd and beat protesters with steel batons. In one neighborhood, the Basij took over a commercial building and dropped tear gas canisters from the roof onto the protesters, witnesses said.

Basij militia dressed in black shot and killed two young men in Tehran's Vanak and Vali Asr squares, according to witness accounts posted on opposition websites. The victims haven't been identified. Dozens have been injured and arrested, according to witnesses.

"This was the most violent protest we've had by far, and people were also really angry and fearless," said one witness from Tehran, adding that the public seemed resolved to stay on the street.

Opposition called for a mass demonstration on Sunday to commemorate the seventh day of mourning for two slain students, Sanah Jaleh, 26 years old, and Mohamad Mokhtari, 22, who were shot dead on Monday when security forces attacked a crowd.

The opposition movement is banking on momentum created by a wave of antigovernment uprisings across the Middle East, as well as public uproar at the killing of the two students and the government's attempt to exploit their deaths by claiming falsely they supported the regime.

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