In Tehran, Bahrain and Baghdad too
THE wave of rebellion which has sent rulers packing from Tunisia and Egypt came crashing into several Middle East capitals yesterday. In Tehran , where leaders of Iran's opposition had asked official permission for a rally supporting the Egyptian upsurge, thousands of people defied a government ban by taking to the streets, and clashed with government forces.
The demonstrators, who chanted slogans such as "Down with the Dictators" and "Release Political Prisoners" gathered in various parts of the city, but were attacked by police and plain-clothed basiji militia as they attempted to march. The government forces used tear gas and batons, and opened fire.
HRANA, a human rights website, reported one person killed and three wounded when the riot police opened fire at demonstrators near Tohid Square. It said 250 people had been arrested. Many people had to be taken to hospital because of beatings by rot police.
There were reports of demonstrations in other parts of Iran,including the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Mashhad and Kermanshah.
Supporters of the opposition 'Green' movement were claiming the protests showed it was still alive, despite repression. Neither Mir Hossein Mousavi nor Mehdi Karroubi who had called for yesterday's demonstrations in solidarity with those in Egypt and Tunisia, appeared out yesterday, but this may have been because security police were stationed outside their homes.
President Ahmadinejad's government had affected sympathy and even satisfaction with the movement in Egypt that toppled Mubarak, but it plainly did not intend tolerating anything like it being tried at home.
Foreign reporters and camera crew were not allowed to cover yesterday's protests, but Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, confirmed reports that security forces used tear gas, pepper spray and batons against the protesters.
Jabbari said that she had received reports that up to 10,000 security personnel had been deployed to prevent protesters from gathering at Azadi Square, where the marches, originating from various points in Tehran, were expected to converge.
Iranian government media yesterday claimed injuries were caused by the demonstrators opening fire.
There have also been demonstrations in Yemen and in Bahrain, where al Jazzeera noted that young people from both Shia and Sunni communities appeared to have joined forces to demand change.
Another place where the Egyptian revolution appears to have rekindled the people's confidence and hopes is Iraq, torn as it has been by sanctions, war, invasion and sectarian terror fostered from outside. Yesterday it was the turn of young Iraqis who demand something better to speak. A Baghdad correspondent writes:
"Today there are protests in Firdouse Square and Tahrir Square taking place now.
The news is the US and Iraqi forces attacked the peaceful protesters in Firdous Square with battons and water canon, tearing their banners and dismanteling their camp. The are also reports that one of the organisers Uday Al Zaidy was taken to to unknown destination. and ten other protesters were also arrested by interior ministry special forces. There are also report of injuries (due to beatings?)
Protests and demonstrations up and down Iraq have been taking place in different parts of Iraq for more than a week now. Kirkuk, Basrah, Ramady, thi Qar, Baghdad ...coverage on
"The organisers have sought and GOT permission from the interior ministry to have the protest today 14th Feb at 10:00 am Baghdad time.
Najah Fadhil one of the organisers spoke on Rafidain TV at about 13:05 GMT on Rafidain TV, explained that he and other organisers arrived at 09:00 at Firdous Square, in order to prepare for the protest. They were met with a high ranking officer (a colonel) from the interior ministry forces, who tried to talk them into moving their protest into Abu Nawas street just a few of hundred metres away from Firdous Square. On this pretext they asked Uday Al Zaidy to accompany them to the proposed place. Since then non of Zaidy's colleagues or members of his family are able to contact him, no one know his where abouts. It is therefore assumed that this was a trap and that he was arrested. Fadhil and other organisers were detained by the interior ministry forces for over an hour inised a military vehicle on site their phones and id cards were confiscated during detention.
The protest went ahead and the US forces used battons and water canon to disperse the protest.
A crowd has already gathered at Mutanaby street (bookshops street), marched on to Tahrir Square, on hearing the news of the arrests and brutality they marched on Firdous Square but the Iraqi and American forces had blocked all the enternaces to Firdous Square.
There are also news of arrests in Qadisiya and Nasiriya provinces in the south, with reports of cerfews being imposed.
The demonstrators in Baghdad made this call:
"O our people in wounded Iraq. We have gathered your children in this place and are determined to change the corrupt reality which cannot be tolerated any longer. Killing, displacement, unemployment, arbitrary arrests, theft of public funds and hunger mark our lives. Our salvation and the salvation of our children and future generations will only come by ending the American occupation and the political system based on sectarian and ethnic quotas created by the occupation and adopted the Green Zone politicians who proved to us day after day, they did not come to serve Iraq as they claim , but to serve their own interests.
"The sons and daughters of Iraq; your youths decided to march forwards today for their right to freedom and decent living, and for a vision for a better tomorrow. Your youth dream of a bright future after the deposing for ever of the system of the ethnic and sectarian quotas.
"Our Iraqi heroes .. We will use the earth in Firdous Square as our bed and we will stay here at the heart of Baghdad, day and night until all our demands are accepted and met. our demands at the present time:
1. Obliterating corruption and bringing to justice those who have embezzled or misused public funds.
2. Provide the full entitlements under the ration system and ensure complete coverage for all. Initiate immediate plans of action in order to improve of basic public services.
3. The release of detainees who are held without trial or charge and immediate disclosure of all secret prisons.
4. Providing job opportunities for all young people.
5. The enactment of the immediate care and financial support for millions of orphans and widows and to increase the salaries of retirees.
"These are our primary demands. They are the demands of the majority of the Iraqi people.
"We appeal to our youths to join the march for these national demands based on the sincere desire for national independence, for rebuilding Iraq and to preserve the unity and dignity of its people. We deplore any attempt of a partisan monopoly or political manipulation of this popular movement.
"Our primary goal to change the dire situation faced by Iraqis urging our fellow youth to join the Iraq Liberation march to join us or organise sit-ins at their local centres or squares.
The preparatory committee for the protest
The popular movement for the salvation of Iraq"
Thanks to Tahrir of Solidarity Iraq and to Iraq Occupation Focus for this news and informnation