„They filled vans with people“

Zwei interessante kurze Eindrücke von den Demonstrationen des 25. Bahman (via Tehran Bureau):

26 Bahman/Feb 15 The regime’s security forces tried, with some success, to choke off access by protesters to the primary march route and gathering sites in the capital. Here’s what the experience of 25 Bahman was like for one Tehrani who couldn’t make it to the main event:

They were too many! With batons and knives. There were maybe a thousand of us [in my crowd]. I’m really not sure. Maybe more. They never let us join. I had a close call today! I could have ended up in their custody. I was chased down by a group of anti-riot police and violent Basijis. We ran and hid in a small restaurant. The owner was trying to force us out but we begged and begged and he finally agreed to let us stay for a few minutes. They fired teargas and we used that to escape. At least we showed them that it is not over yet, although I’m very disappointed. I am very happy for the Egyptian people.

They have slowed down the Internet speed in Tehran (maybe in other cities too) for today and maybe tomorrow so that no one can send out any videos or photos. Luckily enough I can access my Gmail. No access to Facebook and Twitter. Mobile phones were down but are back up now.

6:20 a.m., 26 Bahman/Feb 15 Arash Aramesh of InsideIRAN.org has an interview with a student activist at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University. Here’s an excerpt (it’s not clear at what time Monday the interview was conducted):

Please describe what is happening right now in Tehran? Lots of people were on the streets; maybe a few hundred thousand. We started at Amir Kabir University, but security forces shut all the gates at the university. My friends and I wanted to march together so we would be in a group to reduce the risk of getting caught. Around campus, security forces split us up in two groups. There was a pro-government professor yelling and chanting against us. Some people were arrested on campus. We moved near Vali Asr Square, but police locked down the entire area. We tried to walk to Azadi Square. You could not see a single open store. It is a good hour or so walk from Vali Asr to Azadi but you did not see a single open business.

Were there a lot of arrests?

They filled vans with people. They rushed us and took people away. There is a language school near Danshjoo Park. Police occupied that building and the one next to it and turned it into a temporary detention facility. Four or five officers would attack students and kidnap them and then keep them in the building.

At noon, we told everyone that we had a permit to reduce the fear and anxiety of people. Phones did not work in that area, but we still managed to get many people out. This was a very successful event. Many people showed up and not many got hurt.

How did the police treat the demonstrators?

Some police forces were surprisingly nice, especially around Azadi Square. But other forces in other areas used brute force. I saw a man whose face was struck with something. I couldn’t tell what it was, but there was blood all over him and he fell down. The government is really worried about people with cameras and this man had a camera. He was taking pictures. The government doesn’t want any media coverage.

There was such little information about what to do and where to go. We got all our information from the internet. And there is no information about what to do next. But I am very happy about today’s turnout.


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