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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
AP reports on Tehran rally

About 10 minutes ago, the Associated Press filed this:


Protesters and riot police clashed in the streets around Iran’s parliament Wednesday as hundreds of people converged on a Tehran square in defiance of government orders to halt demonstrations demanding a new presidential election, witnesses said.

Security forces appeared to vastly outnumber the demonstrators, and they beat protesters gathered on Baharestan Square with batons and fired tear gas canisters and rounds of ammunition into the air, witnesses told The Associated Press. They said some demonstrators fought back while others fled to another Tehran plaza, Sepah Square, about a mile (2 kilometers) to the north.

A helicopter could be seen hovering over central Tehran, where a witness told the AP that the area was swarming with hundreds of riot police who were trying to prevent people from gathering even briefly. Thousands more security officers filled the surrounding streets, said the witness, who declined to give his name for fear of government reprisals.

“There was a lot of police — riot police and Basiji everywhere,” a 53-year-old housewife said, referring to Iran’s volunteer militia corps. She said police stopped her and others from entering the square.

Severe restrictions on reporters have made it almost impossible to independently verify reports on demonstrations, clashes and casualties. Iran has ordered journalists for international news agencies to stay in their offices, barring them from reporting on the streets.


The media crackdown is getting more effective, no one seems to be able to verify the Twitter, phone or blogging reports coming out of Iran.

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posted at 11:21 AM

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