“Security officials and riot police engaged in violent clashes with demonstrators in Tehran today in what one reporter called an ‘unprecedented scene’ in Iran in recent years,” reports a HuffPost account. “NBC producer Ali Arouzi described the events on Saturday: ‘What started off as a small rally outside a pro-reformist newspaper swelled into a massive crowd of people chanting, ‘Death to the dictator, death to Ahmadinejad!’
Many or most pre-election polls favored pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, President Ahmadinejad‘s opponent who leads a powerful youth-driven movement, to win the election by a healthy margin. The general worldwide belief in every corner of the universe is that Ahmadinejad flat-out stole the election.
“A small amount of police pushing the crowd back turned into huge riot police in armored gear and motor bikes beating all the young students here with batons, knocking them back. The students responded by throwing stones, which the police then threw back. Now the police are coming off all the heart streets and main streets to try and disperse the crowd.”
Several injuries were reported after police officers hit protesters with batons. Witnesses said some demonstrators appeared to have been arrested. Black-clad police also gathered around key government buildings and mobile phone text messaging was blocked in an apparent attempt to stifle one of the main communication tools by Mousavi’s movement.
Mousavi “urged his supporters to resist a “governance of lie and dictatorship.’
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that the United States hopes the outcome of Iran’s election reflects the “genuine will and desire” of its people, and that she will continue to monitor events as they unfold.Ahmadinejad has the apparent backing of the ruling theocracy, which holds near-total power and would have the ability to put the election results into a temporary limbo.
Mousavi “had not made a public address or issued messages since declaring himself the true victor moments after polls closed and accusing authorities of ‘manipulating’ the vote.
“‘I’m warning that I won’t surrender to this manipulation,” Mousavi said through on the web today. “The outcome of what we’ve seen from the performance of officials…is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran sacred system and governance of lie and dictatorship.'”