Iran's supreme leader is warning the thousands of people who have been protesting last week's presidential vote to maintain self-restraint or face a stiff reaction from authorities.
Members of the opposition -- who have staged noisy demonstrations for the last six days to protest what they believe was a rigged election -- are weighing their options after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei drew a line in the sand during his all-important sermon during Friday prayers. ...
Human rights monitor Amnesty International issued a statement on Friday saying Khamenei's sermon "indicates the authorities' readiness to launch violent crackdowns if people continue to protest which may cause a widespread loss of life."
"We are extremely disturbed at statements made by Ayatollah Khamenei which seem to give the green light to security forces to violently handle protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program.
"If large numbers of people take to the street in protests in the next couple of days, we fear that they will face arbitrary arrest and excessive use of force, as has happened in recent days."
From The Washtington Post: Opposition Protesters Clash With Riot Police in Tehran.
Security forces blocked downtown streets Saturday and used tear gas, water cannons, batons and warning shots to break up a demonstration against the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as his chief political opponent called for a national strike in the event of his arrest and said he was prepared to sacrifice his life for his cause. ...
The Associated Press reported that 50 to 60 protesters were seriously beaten by police and militiamen and taken to a hospital in central Tehran. Demonstrators could be seen dragging away comrades bloodies by baton strikes, AP said.
Members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, riot police in full gear and members of the pro-government Basij militia were deployed in force to try to keep protesters from gathering or to corral them in side streets and alleys so they could not get to the square, the main starting point of the planned rally.
From National Post: Social media breaks through Iran censorship.
Social media websites became the front lines in Iran's nascent revolution on Tuesday, after the government banned foreign media from reporting on ever-growing protests in the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last week.
"No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city," a Culture Ministry official in Tehran told Reuters on Tuesday, after Iran cancelled accreditation and banned all foreign journalists from leaving their offices to cover the widespread unrest.
And while censorship efforts also appeared to be targeting ordinary citizens and websites, users around the globe joined in online efforts aimed at circumventing the crackdown, protecting information sources within Iran and getting their story out, against the government's will.