‘Like a war zone’

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Bloody clashes broke out in Tehran yesterday as Iran‘s supreme leader said he would not yield to pressure over the disputed election. The renewed confrontation took place in Baharestan Square, near parliament, where hundreds of protesters faced off against several thousand riot police and other security personnel.

Witnesses likened the scene to a ­war zone, with helicopters hovering overhead, many arrests and the police beating demonstrators.

One woman told CNN that hundreds of unidentified men armed with clubs had emerged from a mosque to confront the protesters.

“They beat a woman so savagely that she was drenched in blood and her husband fainted. They were beating people like hell. It was a massacre,” she said.

From the Guardian. Photo near Azadi Square in Tehran on 20 June, 6pm, from Tehran Bureau.

The police and the basiji

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Robert Fisk was in north Tehran last night:

The fate of Iran rested last night in a grubby north Tehran highway interchange called Vanak Square where – after days of violence – supporters of the official President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at last confronted the screaming, angry Iranians who have decided that Mirhossein Mousavi should be the president of their country. Unbelievably – and I am a witness because I stood beside them – just 400 Iranian special forces police were keeping these two armies apart. There were stones and tear gas but for the first time in this epic crisis the cops promised to protect both sides.

“Please, please, keep the Basiji from us,” one middle-aged lady pleaded with a special forces officer in flak jacket and helmet as the Islamic Republic’s thug-like militia appeared in their camouflage trousers and purity-white shirts only a few metres away. The cop smiled at her. “With God’s help,” he said. Two other policemen were lifted shoulder-high. “Tashakor, tashakor,” – “thank you, thank you” – the crowd roared at them.

This was phenomenal. The armed special forces of the Islamic Republic, hitherto always allies of the Basiji, were prepared for once, it seemed, to protect all Iranians, not just Ahmadinejad’s henchmen. The precedent for this sudden neutrality is known to everyone – it was when the Shah’s army refused to fire on the millions of demonstrators demanding his overthrow in 1979.

More of the story, and more photos from the Independent.

From Tehran

This was forwarded by a friend. The photo mentioned is from this YouTube video:

a political coup is happening in Iran

the person in white shirt is my friend,***, student of sculpture at Tehran University, School of fine arts. I was chatting with him hour ago on yahoo messenger, he was inside Tehran University Dormitory. he said he had hid himself under the bed but he could hear screams and shouts. he told me there is blood everywhere and police are finally gone. the students had taken some of the militia’s captive and they were holding them inside the library. the police storms the library and arrests everyone. the number of injuries and arrests is unknown. this happened at the night of june 14 2009 after midnight. earlier in the evening, this video was recorded inside tehran university school of fine arts. in this video Rahnavard urges student to non violent protest and promise them that her husband would not give up. hours later the police attack univeristy too. some of the people you see in the video incuding girls are missing at the moment. People inside Iran are in media boycott and reporters of westeren media are unfortunately being deported from Iran because their visa’s have expired. please spread the word and let the world know what is happening in Iran these days.