6/22/09

"A Massive, Massive, Massive Police Presence"

The New York Times is reporting that a massive police presence has all but silenced the opposition in Tehran. Roger Cohen, reporting from Tehran, writes that, "Elite riot police with thigh-length black leg guards, helmeted Revolutionary Guards in green uniforms and rifle-touting snipers composed a panoply of menace." A few hundred to a thousand protesters remain where, by some reports, there were once hundreds of thousands.

The unelected Guardian Council, charged with certifying the election, has declared that the election is valid "despite an admission... that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters."

The Times goes on to report:
Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman for the 12-member Guardian Council... said that a voter turnout in excess of the registered voting list was a "normal phenomenon" because people could legally vote in areas other than those in which they were registered. Nonetheless, some analysts in Tehran said, the number of people said to be traveling on election day seemed unusually high.
Could the voting irregularities be attributing to a massive voter movement campaign, busing in votes to all but guarantee the outcome?

Nate Silver, election analyst extraordinaire, thinks that the Guardian Council has essentially admitted to election fraud, but he doesn't consider the possibility of vote rigging by busing.

Roger Cohen perhaps sums up the emotions best:
I believe the loss of trust by millions of Iranians who’d been prepared to tolerate a system they disliked, provided they had a small margin of freedom, constitutes the core political earthquake in Iran. Moderates who once worked the angles are now muttering about making Molotov cocktails and screaming their lungs out after dusk.

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