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Thursday, July 09, 2009
e-mail reports from Iran

The New York Times is reporting that it has received two emails from inside Iran in the past two hours.

The phones are completely out. I’m hiding in an international hotel…. riot police wanted to break in but the managers convinced them. The crowd is running in the thousands, starting in Enqelab where riot police and basij started beating people. Saw one middle-age woman with blood stains. Then they pushed up kargar st to laleh park, squads of 25 police would run up the streets with batons beating people. I hid in a clock shop, like many other people who would hide in street shops and come out once these attack squads went up the streets.

Fires of trash are burning in main streets. Everyone honking, women and men of all ages out, even kids in cars (most families have driven their cars and blocked the streets). No phone so hoping there will be internet later. One 55-year-old housewife said to me proudly “This is Iran. We are all together,” in front of Fatemi street where the crowd stretches as far as the eye can see, but again crowd is moving because riot police is moving as well as the basij on motorcycles. Lots of people chanting “Down with Dictator!” and “Moussavi! Moussavi!” and “God is Almighty.”

A second email:

The crowds are too huge to contain. Riot police running up and down Fatemi Street beating people, barely got out of the way. The crowds just get out of their way and come back. Saw two undercover Basij, one was actually a late 40s businessman in a suit, whipped out a collapsible metal baton and started beating someone with a camera. He was beaten until the baton broke, another Basij came on motorcycle to help but crowds started surging and booed them away. Someone threw a water bottle but otherwise crowd is peaceful — keep chanting “Please Stop!” and chased the two Basij away.

Then riot police came back up. More fires in the street as trash and various containers are burned. Tear gas everywhere, no gunshots yet I think but again undercover Basij everywhere. Again I stress crowds in thousands and this is just one street. One 27-year guy in black shirt said “We don’t want war. We just want freedoms. Here, [he signals getting shot] no matter. Down with the dictator,” and people joining in the chant. Also [chanting] “God is Great!”

The main theme is that people are surprisingly non-violent. They seem very hopeful and energetic. People from all levels of society are out. No one is throwing rocks but people have been setting fires in the street.

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posted at 9:54 AM

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