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Thursday, July 09, 2009
Tear gas being used again

AFP reporting that Iran's security forces are using tear gas to break up protesters in Tehran today.

Iranian police fired tear-gas on Thursday as hundreds of demonstrators defied government warnings and staged a march to commemorate the anniversary of bloody student unrest in 1999, witnesses said.

Protesters chanted “Death to the dictator” as they moved towards Tehran University, the epicentre of the violence 10 years ago.

Police in riot gear had been out in force to try to stifle any gathering as the authorities remained on tenterhooks following the wave of protests over last month’s hotly disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets.

Iranian authorities had warned of a harsh response to any commemoration of the 1999 violence… when hardline vigilantes stormed student dormitories, according to an official toll.

The IRNA, as ever, doing the bidding of its masters, quoted Tehran governor Morteza Tamadon, who issued a blunt warning for this year's anniversary.

"If some people make moves that are contrary to security initiatives under the influence of anti-revolutionary networks, they will be trampled under the feet of our alert people."

The Los Angeles Times documented the brutality this way:

The screams of a woman being beaten could be heard from nearby buildings. Business owners could be seen hustling protesters into their buildings to shield them from anti-riot police and plainclothes enforcers.

Many of the demonstrators wore surgical masks to protect their identities from cameras stationed at adjacent buildings. They could be seen escaping into side streets and regrouping as shops quickly were shuttered.

Uniformed security forces on motorcycles wearing black helmets and plainclothes officers had blocked off streets around Revolution Square, near the Tehran University epicenter of the protest.

Police vans to haul away protesters could be seen parked along the roadways.Passing drivers and motorcyclists honked their horns and flashed the "V" sign in support of the clumps of demonstrators. At least one trash bin was set afire, a witness said, sending a plume of black smoke rising as dusk approached.

But as the militiamen tried to drag away demonstrators, one witness said, protesters joined together to overpower them and rescue their comrades. The witness also said he saw some women with their headscarves pulled off being forced into police vans. Another woman taking pictures with her cellphone camera was dragged away.

It's bad right now, more to come.

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posted at 8:46 AM

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