The Tiananmen of Our Time

Events in Iran are well outside the scope of this space, but as a political blog it's impossible not to note the election there ...
by | June 14, 2009

Iran-revolt_1423225c Events in Iran are well outside the scope of this space, but as a political blog it's impossible not to note the election there Friday and the reaction to it since. Ahmedinejad's landslide win was clearly a fraud, triggering street protests throughout the weekend in Tehran of a scale not seen there in years.

As of this writing, the White House has issued no formal statements.

I've never heard a sitting government's reelection described as a coup before, but this one has all the trappings. Police are beating students and other protesters, including women. One hundred opposition figures have been detained. The Iranians arrested BBC journalists and confiscated their footage. Other foreign media outlets are being blocked from broadcasting. Text messaging, YouTube, Flickr and other peer to peer media have all been shut down within the country at various times.

As Sunday dragged on, protesters took to their cars as a safer means of angrily flooding the streets. Residents are also shouting from rootops. Protests continued into the night and have spread to other major cities throughout Iran.

As Nicholas Kristof notes, it's never wise to place bets against the state, with its superior firepower, at moments such as these, and the nation's religious oligarchy is digging in. Nationwide protests in 1999 and 2003, the New York Times points out, trailed off after a week.

Baton-wielding police But with Mousavi, the election's loser, calling for continued protests on Monday and a general strike on Tuesday, it's conceivable that these protests have taken on an unstoppable momentum. Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's wife, has announced they'll march in Tehran Monday at 4 pm local time.

There are reports that residents are leaving gates and doors unlocked, to offer escape and refuge to those fleeing from police beatings.

Worthwhile sites for following this story include the New York Times' Lede Blog, Andrew Sullivan and the Iranian-American site NIAC. You can find links to Iranian emails, Tweets, pictures and videos, along of course with links to other coverage. The site Tehran Bureau is also worth Googling -- it's been shut down from time to time, though.

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