6/24/09

Media Blackout in Iran


The New York Times reports that "hundreds of protesters clashed with waves of riot police and paramilitary militia in Tehran on Wednesday." Other reports place the number closer to a thousand.

The article continues: "It was impossible to confirm first-hand the extent of the new violence in the capital because of draconian new press restrictions on coverage of the post-election mayhem."

From an interview on CNN (via the Guardian's News Blog), an eyewitness account of Wednesday's brutal crackdown on the demonstrators at Baharestan Square outside the national Parliament building:
The black-clad police stopped everyone. They emptied the buses that were taking people there and let the private cars go on. We went on until Ferdowsi then all of a sudden some 500 people with clubs came out of [undecipherable] mosque and they started beating everyone. They tried to beat everyone on [undecipherable] bridge and throwing them off of the bridge. And everyone also on the sidewalks. They beat a woman so savagely that she was drenched in blood and her husband, he fainted. They were beating people like hell. It was a massacre.
Meanwhile The Tweets coming out of Iran, as aggregated by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic, have become increasingly alarming:
they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us

in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar

Everybody is under arrest & cant move - Mousavi - Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard
The New York Times reports that phone calls from Iran confirm the use of live ammunition at Baharestan Square. "Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelevable - ppls murdered everywhere," one Twitter user wrote.

"Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost," Ayatollah Khamenei said on state television.

A compilation video of the unrest--as recorded by individuals using cell phones--is available here, from The Guardian.

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