Friday, July 31, 2009

Iranians Defy Authorities in New Round of Protests

From the Los Angeles Times, "Iranians Defy Authorities to Mourn Those Slain in the Unrest:

Protesters swarmed Tehran's main cemetery and fanned out across a large swath of the capital Thursday, defying truncheons and tear gas to publicly mourn those killed during weeks of unrest, including a young woman whose death shocked people around the world.

The protests marked the 40th day since the shooting of Neda Agha-Soltan was captured on video and posted on the Internet. For Shiite Muslims, the 40th day has religious importance, often an occasion for an outpouring of emotion and grief.

Thirty years ago, such commemorations helped build momentum for the Islamic Revolution, which overthrew the shah. The resilience of the thousands of protesters this time set the stage for more clashes next week, when hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be inaugurated for a second term despite allegations that he won only because of widespread fraud in the June 12 election.

The scale and reach of Thursday's protests, which also erupted in at least four other cities, appeared to catch security forces off guard. After initially bloodying some of the mourners arriving at Behesht Zahra cemetery, many of them young women dressed in black and carrying roses, officers stepped back. They mingled amicably with protesters, and in one case even accepted flowers from them.

The mourners chanted political slogans as they rode the Tehran subway from the city center to the cemetery and back. When they returned to the center, they took to the streets, first in the area of the Grand Mosala Mosque, where they had been banned from gathering.

Later, on side streets and main thoroughfares, they were occasionally attacked by baton-wielding security personnel, some on motorcycles.

But they were also cheered on by thousands of well-wishers honking car horns ferociously or hanging out the windows of apartments and buses. They clogged roadways and tunnels, holding up signs in support of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Shopkeepers handed out bottles of water to sustain the demonstrators in the heat.

"Honorable Iranians," the protesters chanted. "Today is a day of mourning."
More at the link.

See also, Atlas Shrugs, "
Day 49 Iranian Revolution: What Really Happened at Tehran University."

Video Hat Tip:
Berman Post.