Eyewitness reports given to Zamaneh indicate that large buses with drawn
curtains are parked around Valiasr Square, a central thoroughfare in Tehran, and
security forces are brandishing clubs and batons to intimidate Iranain
protesters who have braved the streets despite heavy security deployment all
Various reports indicate Iranians from across the city have
been trying to get to the proposed starting point of the rally called by
opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. With subways blocked
and security forces heavily deployed on major streets, it has become difficult
and hazardous for protesters to gather as planned.
At 18:25 local time, eyewitnesses told Zamaneh security forces are carrying
unusually heavy weaponry around Abbasabad Street. Reports also indicate that at
Azadi Square, where the march was supposed to end, dozens of black police
vehicles have been stationed, and the police are reportedly confiscating mobile
phones as soon as people are seen using them.
While froreign media has been banned from covering the events, reports of the
protests are only getting through social media and eyewitnesses despite
restrictions set against internet and mobile phone services.
Eyewitness reports to Reuters indicate sporadic clashes in Tehran's Engelab
Square between security forces and opposition protesters. Demonstrators are said
to have been chanting "Death to the Dictator!" referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
the hardline president who was re-elected in 2009 amidst allegations of vote
fraud, triggering mass protests.
AFP and CNN have reported thousands of protesters on the streets, and BBC quotes
eyewitnesses who report that drivers and motorcyclists are giving free lifts to
Protests have also been reported in other major cities including Tabriz, Shiraz,
Esfahan, Ahavaz, Rasht and Kermanshah.
After Islamic Republic authorities crushed the 2009 street protests with fierce
violence and systematic arrest of protesters and reformists figures, the
opposition leaders refrained from rallying supporters to avoid bloodshed.
Today's rally, called by Mousavi and Karroubi in support of the recent Arab
uprisings which the state has announced support for, will test the opposition's
ability to engage in street protests as well as the state's willingness to
persist in violent confrontations with the people.