Videos: Iranians defy government ban on opposition protests
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Iranian opposition supporters defied a government ban to participate in rallies supporting popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia on February 14, two days after the government celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Despite fears of a violent police crackdown, thousands of Iranians took to the streets.
Iranian opposition supporters defied a government ban to participate in rallies supporting popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia on February 14 (25 Bahman in Persian), two days after the government celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Despite fears of a violent police crackdown, thousands of Iranians took to the streets.
According to witnesses and opposition websites, clashes broke out between protesters and police in several parts of the capital. Protesters burned rubbish bins and set up barricades around Enghlab and Azadi squares in central Tehran, while police fired tear gas and paintball bullets to try to disperse the crowds. Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi's website, Kaleme.org, reported that dozens of opposition supporters had been arrested during the clashes.
The Iranian authorities also tried to clamp down on the unrest by cutting cell phone networks and arresting known opposition activists. Opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were placed under house arrest. Foreign journalists were banned from conducting on-the-spot reporting from the protests, and riot police as well as Islamist Basij militiamen were heavily deployed across the capital.
Due to the severed phone lines, we have been unable to speak to people participating directly in the protests. Nevertheless, Iranian Web users have been posting information, photos and videos online via social media networks. We bring you a selection of videos that have been verified by our trusted Iranian Observers.
Many thanks to our Observer Omid Habibinia for his help with this post.
Leading up to the February 14 protests
Hundreds of calls of “Death to the Dictator” and “Allah is Great” rang out in the night of February 12 as Tehran residents defied a night-time chanting ban in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution’s 32nd anniversary.
In the days leading up to February 14, dozens of stickers calling to protest sprouted up around the Iranian capital. The following video shows an unknown man discreetly pasting one on a police car in a busy street.
Early morning: a protester climbs onto a crane
Several of our Iranian Observers sent us this video showing a protester - reportedly a woman - who climbed on top a construction crane in the morning of February 14. Close-up photos reveal that she was holding a poster with the faces of opposition protesters killed in previous demonstrations. The video also shows police on a building rooftop trying to get her down from the crane.
Protests in central Tehran in the afternoon of Tuesday, February 14.
Protesters marching near Enghlab Square, chanting "Free political prisoners" in Farsi. At 0 minutes 14 seconds, the crowd turns back and runs away. A woman is heard shouting that police fired tear gas. Video posted on YouTube by onlymehdi.
Protesters burn rubbish bins near Enghlab Square. Witnesses reported that clashes broke out in the area. Vidéo posted on YouTube by Khodenvisi.
Several dozen protesters gathered near Enghlab Square, in central Tehran, shouting "Death to the Dictator!" Video posted on YouTube by freedomessenger20.
Tehran residents filmed Basij (members of Iran's Islamist militia) on motorcycles heading towards the city centre in the early afternoon February 14. Iranian authorities have poured police and militiamen onto the streets in an effort to crush any attempted protests.
Post written with France 24 journalist Lorena Galliot.