This is a live-blog reporting on Iran on the second anniversary of the disputed 2009 presidential election. Also running great live-blogs on Iran today, our colleagues EA WorldView and Dissected News.
2006 GMT: People march down the sidewalks under the watchful eye of Iranian plain-clothed special forces (left). Special forces and police used the bus lanes to move through traffic in large groups. (right)
Protesters march on the sidewalks
1933 GMT: When the protests clogged the streets, the cars began honking in protest instead of marching.
1929 GMT: The first video of the day shows the riot police on the streets of Iran.
1925 GMT: We’ve made a separate, and entertaining, video entry, “Angry Birds V Dictators.” It’s a must-see!
Silent protest went on with a large number of people participating and heavy security atmosphere. Many people showed up in their cars and participated in the silent protests.
At Beheshti St (Abbas-Abbad) traffic came to a stand still & drivers got out of their cars. Then people joined in the protest by honking horns. Traffic came to a stand still at Beheshti street and around Valiasr. On Valiasr the security forces were able to use the special bus lines to move around [the traffic]. The special forces on motorbikes were riding up and down the street. People [protesters] kept on moving towards Vanak and Valiasr.
A large number of people were across from Saii Park… [where] there were special unit guards and plainclothes forces… in black clothing and gray vests [who] were video taping people. Plainclothes on motorbikes (2 on each bike) were also video taping people.
Anti riot forces in black clothes equiped with firearms and teargas were at Vanak Square. On Valiasr street, from Vanak Square to Valiasr Square, forces were present, but despite the heavy presence of forces people were present also.
Almost 90% of the forces on Valiasr St were plainclothes on motorbikes. The plainclothes on Valiasr were either on bikes riding up & down or on foot observing people. The dangerous plainclothes are also equipped w handguns, knives and batons.
In more sensitive areas, plain-clothed forces & uniformed forces of NAJA (police) & special forces were stationed. NAJA vans were parked at Valiasr street and Valiasr Sq. NAJA black vans were also parked on the side streets and alleys of Valias. As it got dark, Saii Park lights were turned off and anti riot forces went inside the park. They also turned the lights off at Melat Park, but number of forces at Saii much large.
As it got dark they started arresting people. Most arrests were at Vanak & Valiasr Square. On most intersections (like Fatemi, Valiasr) Sepah forces on motorbikes were stationed.
The number of people that showed up was very, very large.
11:03pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Scott Lucas has provided an excellent summary of what we know about the protests so far today in the EA live-blog:
There were significant gatherings in certain points in Tehran late this afternoon, notably Vali-e Asr Square in the centre of Tehran and Vanak Square in the north. Estimates vary wildly — NBC says “tens of thousands” of protesters were present; AFP says “small” gatherings.
EA cannot venture a number; however, we know from absolutely reliable sources that the protesters were well beyond “small”. In addition, it should be noted that the NBC estimate comes from a producer who were at the scene in Vali-e Asr Square.
Security forces tried to disperse people, sweeping up anyone — an interesting challenge, given the protests were “silent” — whom they thought might be involved in the dissent. The opposition website Kalemeh says “hundreds of people” were detained. Other estimates are more conservative, saying “scores”. What we do know is that people were loaded into vans and moved to detention centres throughout the city — EA sources say it will be 2-3 days before relatives will be able to establish where missing people are located.
Iran media who are making any mention of the protests are trying to dismiss them as a non-event. Khabar Online claims that Vanak Square and Vali-e Asr Square were “normal” — it maintains that, despite opposition claims, there were no disruptions to business and no significant presence of demonstrators.
10:52pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Radio Zamaneh summarizes a Jaras report that political prisoner, Abdollah Momeni is in critical condition at Ward 350 in Iran’s Evin prison.
10:37pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Reliable Twitter user reports clashes at Tabriz University in the city of Tabriz. We have not independently verified.
10:05pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Update on Hoda Saber: A funeral will be held for him at 7:00am at a Tehran cemetery. Kalame reports that some doctors believe that his death occurred from negligence on the part of prison authorities to take him to the hospital for treatment.
10:00pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
More on the protesters at Vali Asr Square and arrests taking place there and at Vanak Square, from a very reliable EA source:
“they are shepherding people into vans like sheep”
“significant numbers of people are being arrested in the Vali Asr sq area”
“reliable reports of several of arrests in Vanak”
“People taking refuge in restaurants and the few shops not shuttered by authorities”
9:45pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
BREAKING: We have confirmation from absolutely reliable EA WorldView sources in Iran that there were flare-ups between protesters and security forces in Vali Asr Square in Tehran today.
People showed up and attempted to hold a silent protest–as had been planned.
MSNBC reports that one of their producers witnessed arrests and a turn out of tens of thousands of protesters:
Ali Arouzi, a NBC News producer in Tehran, said he witnessed about 15 arrests and saw tens of thousands of pro-reform activists marching silently around the city.
Other witnesses said thousands of security personnel were deployed to stop any revival of anti-government protests that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009.
9:30pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
We have returned from break to various reports and news from Iran. We start with an update on Hoda Saber.
Peyke Iran reports that the wife of Hoda Saber has not been granted permission to hold a funeral for her husband who passed away at Evin Prison today, nor has his body been released to the family.
Mardomak reports that Hoda Saber’s body was transferred to the coroner at Modarres Hospital where the cause of his death will be investigated.
A crowd has gathered in front of the hospital.
2:15pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Political Prisoners Watch:
Mardomak reports that, Hoda Saber, of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition, has died after cardiac arrest while he was on a hunger strike.
2:00pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
All of the sites that were reported as being down below are currently accessible. This seems consistent with distributed denial of service attack.
1:00pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
BREAKING: Multiple reports of several Iranian government websites down, including:
www.moi.ir -> Ministry of Interior
www.mod.ir -> Ministry of Defense
We have checked all three. Two of them, the Ministry of Interior site, and www.ict.gov.ir, were down when we checked. That is, they would not load. The Ministry of Defense site loaded, but it was quite slow to do so. This appears to indicate that these are Denial of Service attacks.
12:22pm Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
We have a report that the Iranian government site www.ict.gov.ir, purportedly for producing a closed Iranian Internet, is down. It is being claimed that the activist cyber group, Anonymous, was responsible for bringing the site down.
Yesterday we posted the following video to our live-blog for the day, an announcement by Anonymous that they would be active today:
The following is a quote from this video:
Cyberspace is yours.
In cyberspace your legion will be strong. In cyberspace they can’t hurt you. When they try to close the world wide web to you, don’t feel left alone, for there are many around the world willing to help you. The regime might filter the web, but they never will succeed to close it down.
Looks like if the this site was indeed meant for some kind of closed Internet that Anonymous has already acted upon these words.
11:30am Sunday, June 12, 2011 (IRDT)
Two years ago today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “announced” the winner of the 2009 Iranian presidential election. This was a heavily disputed election. It lead to millions of Iranians protesting peacefully in the streets, asking simply, “Where is my vote?” only to be met by an intolerant regime cracking down brutally upon them.
The Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope asked for a public protest, but a silent one.
Given the heavy repression in Iran currently, if protests arise, the regime will likely crackdown. Under these circumstances, it is unclear how the day’s events will turn out. We will be watching the situation closely.