On the streets of Tehran

On the streets of Tehran
: The latest, from Reuters:

Hundreds of Iranian hardline Islamic vigilantes, police and pro-democracy youths fought sporadic street battles near Tehran University on Wednesday, the anniversary of violent 1999 student unrest.

A witness said police fired tear gas at groups of youths near the campus and also fought hand-to-hand with plainclothes Islamic militiamen to prevent them from engaging in further battles with the pro-democracy youths.

“The atmosphere is very tense, the smell of tear gas is thick in the air. Police have clashed with youths, the youths have fought with Basijis (militiamen) and I saw police fighting Basijis trying to get closer to the university,” the witness said….

Hundreds of riot police reinforcements later poured in to take control of the area, dispersing crowds and chasing youths into side streets and beating them with batons.

Police appeared to have a firmer grip on security than during last month’s unrest, when at times they stood by and watched as vigilantes beat protesters with chains, cables and clubs and roared around on motorcycles attacking protesters at will.

But cars still clogged the downtown area into the night with drivers beeping horns when Basij or police were not looking.

: The news is little more than a brief in the Guardian.

  • I’m getting the impression we’re seeing the answer to the question ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’
    With the exception of the two basic stories that have popped out – the abduction of the student leaders, and the hints of street clashes (under control) there is damned little else out there.
    But there are hints that more is going on – but we aren’t getting the picture. All the news has been centered on Tehran – nothing from the other cities.
    Internet access is being actively engaged and blocked, inbound media likewise being jammed/disrupted.
    One odd bit that seems to coincidentally match up is an INRA official statement attributing a fire at a bank to ‘electrical problems’, and one of the dispatches that did make it out referenced bank buildings that were torched.
    I have a suspicion that more is happening than is making through what has the look of an information clampdown. We just got a prime example of a totalitarian regime taking foriegn media in hand and directing the story line. There is a lot smaller presence in Iran from what I gather.
    Just an observation, and speculation at this point though. The lid won’t stay on forever though.

  • thanks, very interesting