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Iran: Call for Protests on February 14 - "Silent Protest" Returns to Streets

By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online

As the anniversary of the 25 Bahman (February 14) protests approaches, several social media outlets have called on people to take to the streets. Meanwhile, the coordination council of the Rahe Sabz Omid ("Green Path of Hope") has issued a statement calling on people to participate in a "silent protest" on the February 14 anniversary.

related websites: Jaras | Kaleme | Green Voice | 25 Bahman

The Rahe Sabz Omid's statement, which was first published on the website Kalame affiliated with Mir-Hossein Mousavi noted that the protests should take place on the first anniversary of the February 14 protests and the start of the "green movement leaders'" house arrests.

Last year, at the invitation of the two prominent green movement leaders, Mehdi Karoubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, their supporters came out to the streets to support the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. State security forces cracked down on the protests, and at least two protesters Sane' Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari were killed in street clashes with state forces.

After the protests, Mehdi Karoubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi were both arrested and have been under house arrest since. The coordination council of Rahe Sabz Omid declared its existence shortly after, although the council's performance since has been met with criticism from some green movement supporters.

In its statement, the coordination council calls on security and police forces to "respect their fellow countrymen's rights under the law and demonstrate to the world that they will not behave as suppression tools for a dictatorial regime." The statement also refers to the "humanitarian, legal and religious" right of Iranians to protest their current living conditions and the state of affairs in their country.

The Rahe Sabz Omid released its statement one week after 39 political prisoners wrote an open letter inviting the people to "deepen and expand their protest movement" and intensify efforts to release their "imprisoned leaders."

Meanwhile, activists used social networking websites to amplify the call for February 14 protests. The 25 Bahman Facebook page which is one of the most popular green movement pages on Facebook with more than 73,000 members invited people to participate in the protest, even setting up a poll to determine the protest route. Members picked a route that ended at Pastor street, where Mir-Hossein Mousavi is under house arrest.

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