Thousands of people defied bullets, batons and death and came out onto the streets shouting “Natarsid! Natarsid! Mah hameh bah ham hastim!” (Don’t be scared! Don’t be scared! We are all together!). June 20 saw the mass murder of demonstrators by security forces, it is unclear how many people are dead as estimates range from 11 to 150. With media outlets severely restricted it could be some time until we are given the true number. State organs such as Press TV have described the murdered protesters as “terrorists”. HOPI received an eye witness report of yesterday’s violence which can be found here. We will try to acquire eye witness reports of today’s events, until then below is a brief outline of some of today’s events.
Around 50,000 people converged on the United Nations office where the police attempted to disperse the crowd, however, they were met with rocks and barricades. A candle lit vigil for those killed yesterday in Hafte Tir Square was attacked by police. Fights and demonstrations broke out across Tehran, protestors in the South of Tehran on Fallah Street were attacked by special officers. It has been called a middle class rebellion by some commentators, as the South of Tehran has been quiet compared to the more affluent North of Tehran, today proved them wrong as young people and workers gathered in Eslamshahr to march towards the centre of Tehran. All across the South of Tehran fights broke out with today as thousands marched against the brutality of the Islamic Republic.
In the squares of Tehran security forces were again waiting for demonstrators, at Vanak and Enqelab demonstrators were viscously attacked by police and Basij, whilst outside of Tehran in Sanandaj, Saqz, Kermanshah and others, thousands of people have fought running battles with the police. As the night drew in, people took to their roofs and shouted “Marg Bar Diktator” (Death to the dictator) and “Allah Akhbar” (God is great).
Sayyid Ali Khamenei in his speech yesterday said: there has been no cheating in the elections and that people are not going to get their demands through demonstrating in the streets. Many people were waiting to see what he was going to say, especially the reformists, and he made it very clear that he is on Ahmadinejad’s side, so it is not very hard to guess that reformists are backing down eventually and what we saw today in the streets of Tehran is very different than what we saw during the last weeks.
Many of the reformists who had been a part of demonstrations for the past few weeks and had said they will not stop protesting till they get their demands were not among people who were fighting and dying for freedom in the streets of Tehran today.
The demonstrations started in the centre around 4 o’clock the police (including the official city police all three branches of Sepah and Basijis in plain clothing) had already settled in all the main squares and streets. We saw many members of Basij with plain clothing armed to the teeth ready to kill people who came in groups of 5-10 and stayed in corners at first you could say there was about 10,000 people around Enqelab Square (Revolution Square) who had not joined each other yet. What happened was like 3500-4000 people would gather and form a demonstration start yelling out things like: “We did not give blood to give up now” and “Khamenei you Pinochet Iran is not going to be Chile”. But none of the gatherings could last long because the police would hit people and Sepah would shoot people, and members of Basij stabbed people.
People who lived in the neighbourhood had left their doors open so injured people and the ones followed by the police could get in. It was the same in many other places, in Tehran at Tohid Square the police were settled in a bus and shot people from there, people who did not even carry weapons and had came to the streets just to have a calm demonstration to defend their basic rights as citizens and human beings.
In Azadi square (Freedom Square) people were numerous and were also attacked, injured and killed by the police, but today the demonstrations were not only held in the city centre, they were spread out in most places of Tehran: Vanak Square, Ferdosi Square, Shahrakegharb, Tehranpars, Ariashahr and many other neighbourhoods. Tehran was a scene of ordinary people and even children fighting against the police, unarmed and unprotected, but brave and willing to sacrifice anything even their lives for freedom. People had burned down cars and other vehicles that mostly belonged to police, tear gas cannisters was fired in every place that people had gathered. Many of us had never seen so many members of Basij in all our lives. The regime had gathered all of its forces and supporters to kill its own citizens wildly in the streets. People stayed in Azadi and Vanak Square till 12 midnight and there are still battle going on in some streets.
Many people are in hospital, were the police are making a list of their names. Many of the activists are arrested and some have disappeared. Today the Islamic Republic showed every one once again, that they will not obey peoples will and they are ready to kill as many as it takes to stay in power. Some on the Left will support the Islamic Republic against us and Western Governments may try to meddle, their support is poisonous, the Iranian people will decide their fate alone, against imperialism and against the Islamic Republic. We do need the support of our comrades across the world. The people showed that they want more than just tiny reforms, they want what has been taken away from them all these years, they want their freedom and their dignity back. A regime that is so afraid of the majority of its citizens that kills unarmed people in the streets is not a regime that could last and we will take on this fight till we are a free nation.
Across Iran security forces have attacked barbarically any gatherings and have fought running battles with youth and workers. The death count at this time is up to 40 people with hundreds of injured still streaming in to hospitals and medical centres. Even the injured are being rounded up and attacked in the Hospitals.
Thousands of police and Basij militia were deployed across Tehran, in many areas they were heroically pushed back by youths armed with stones and barricades. Security forces have discriminately opened fire on crowds across the city, many videos and pictures have been circulating the internet, some will be posted on here.
Hands Off the People of Iran received this a couple of hours ago, it details some disturbing acts of violence committed by the security forces. The following statement is written by 4 of the Tehran university students who were arrested in Tehran university dormitory on Sunday night, when Basij, Sepah, and the anti rebellion guard attacked Kuieh Daneshgaheh Tehran ( the dormitory of Tehran university). These were the students who were asleep in their rooms or studying in the library and their only fault (according to the regime) was being a student of Tehran university and living in the dormitory. Many of the students who were a part of the demonstrations are still in prison and up to 15 students have been killed and there bodies have been taken away by Basij.
The students who wrote this text were picked randomly by the savage unnamed forces and were taken to the basement of the interior ministry:
‘A night in the 4th underground floor of the interior ministry:
“ Here is a hundred times worse than the Guantanamo”
We are a group of 46 students who had been arrested in our rooms or in the common rooms, they put us all on a bus and put blindfolds over our eyes, there was a metal cover over our heads –on the top of the seats that the Basijis kept hitting on it with clubs all the way which made a very horrible sound and was the worse kind of white torture (mental torture) for us in that time.
After a while we felt the bus is going downwards and later from the whispers of the officers and Basijis and Sepahis in plainclothes we found out that we are in the basement of the interior ministry. The basement was about 100 square meters large and its ground was covered with smoking ash, after we entered they made us lay down on the hot ash and roll around, we had to watch but were not allowed to touch the person next to us while rolling, if it happened they would start to hit us with clubs and kick us, all the time they kept saying: “so you wanted to have a revolution, did you?” They used sexual swearing words and a abusive language all the time. There were about 20 soldiers, guards of Basij and Sepah for the 46 of us.
Next they would keep making us to stare at the floor and the ceiling after we stared at the floor for a few minutes they would start hitting us very severely and saying: “why aren’t you looking at the floor?” although we were all looking at the floor. And all night long we could here a sound as if some workers were smashing bricks outside which made us all very nervous.
What they did to the students who wanted to use the bathrooms was very savage and inhuman like the W.C had no door or cover and anyone who used it would be seen by the guards and anyone who went there had only 30 seconds to use the bathroom after 30 seconds they would pull us out of the bathroom even before we had pulled up our pants.
One of the students was injured in his eye, he told the guard who was standing next to him that his eye hurt so much and he could not see properly, they didn’t even give him a small bandage to put on his eye but they started to punch him in his face. Another student had a broken leg and he couldn’t move but they did not stop hitting him.
They did not even let us drink water after all that they made us go through, the one time that they gave us water they made us look up and keep our mouths open and they purred water from one meter above us! When one of their leaders came in to check us he asked them: “did you give them water?” and he looked around and saw the student with the broken leg he said: “why is he dying then? Give them water” They brought in a plastic pipe and we thought they are really going to give us water and we were so thirsty that we ran towards it but what came out of it was boiling water which made our lips and mouths burn.
The food was also a part of the torture they put some cold macaroon on our palms and said: you must eat it. Even if we dropped one noodle they made us pick it up from the floor that was covered with ash and blood and eat it, anyone who disobeyed would be hit in the head till he passed out. The same thing happened over the so called breakfast they gave us a piece of dry bread and told us to divide it in half with the person next to us and since the bread was dry little pieces would fall on the floor and we would be beaten. Another thing that is very painful for us to talk about and go to the details is the sexual abuse and rape that happened to us in the 4th underground level of the interior ministry. The same thing happened to most of us after we were sent to the security police a few hours before we were released.
The one day we spent in the basement of the interior ministry was the worst day of our lives, a day we will never forget. When they first took us there some of the guards said: here is a thousand times worse than Guantanamo. And they were right we will never forget what we went through just because we lived in the dormitory of Tehran University, there were moments when we thought we are going to stay here forever and no one will ever help us. When they had gathered us to move us to the security police one of the students started to cry and then we all started crying.
When the security police was about to release us Dr. Farhad Rahbar the dean of Tehran university showed up at last! He was with one of the parliament members and some photographers who were taking pictures of his bravery. He gave us each a T-shirt as a present. They made us wear them so no one would see our bloody shirts, what we all thought of was: where were you on the night they illegally attacked the dormitory? Why didn’t you defend us? Why did you leave us on our own, with no protection so they could do what ever they felt like to? Why did you let our classmates to die innocently in the libraries of the dormitory? Why did say nothing when the dormitories turned all red of our blood? No Dr Rahbar, sir, we do not want T-shirts to cover up our blood and their filth we want you to answer, we want you to go and see the basement of the interior ministry, we want you to make them answer for what they did because we are not going to keep quiet anymore we are going to make them answer for what they did and if you keep quiet, the blood of our classmates is going to be on your hands just as well as them.’
This is what some ordinary students of Tehran university went through 2 days ago, it is not hard to imagine what is happening to the activist students who were arrested. As the students who wrote the above text said anyone who keeps quiet and does not protest against what is going on in Iran right now is just as responsible as the Islamic regime of Iran who is killing people now in the street the universities and in prisons to prolong its pathetic existence which is built on the blood of Iranian people.
We reprint this article by Brian Murphy – showing how Khamenei is refusing to budge and threatening more violence.
Iran’s supreme leader sought Friday to end the deepening crisis over disputed elections with one decisive speech declaring the vote will almost certainly stand and sternly warning opposition leaders to end street protests or be held responsible for any “bloodshed and chaos” to come. But a first sign of possible resistance came shortly after nightfall in Tehran. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) rang from rooftops in what’s become a nightly ritual of opposition unity. The sharp line drawn by Iran’s most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a gambit that pushes Iran’s opposition to a pivotal moment: either back down or risk a crushing response from police and the forces at Khamenei’s disposal: the powerful Revolutionary Guard and their volunteer citizen militia, the Basiji.
Vahed Syndicate – Any Suppression or threat of civil liberty condemned
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, we request that June 26 Action Day – Justice for Iranian workers – to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
In recent days, we continue witnessing the magnificent demonstration of millions of people from all ages, genders, and national and religious minorities in Iran. They request that their basic human rights, particularly the right to freedom and to choose independently and without deception be recognized. These rights are not only constitutional in most of the countries, but also have been protected against all odds.
Amid such turmoil, one witnesses threats, arrests, murders and brutal suppression that one fears only to escalate on all its aspects, resulting in more innocent bloodshed, more protests, and certainly no retreats. Iranian society is facing a deep political-economical crisis. Million-strong silent protests, ironically loud with un-spoken words, have turned into iconic stature and are expanding from all sides. These protests demand reaction from each and every responsible individual and institution.
As previously expressed in a statement published on-line in May of this year, since the Vahead Syndicate does not view any of the candidates support the activities of the workers’ organizations in Iran, it would not endorse any presidential candidate in the election. Vahed members nevertheless have the right to participate or not to participate in the elections and vote for their individually selected candidate.
Moreover, the fact remains that demands of almost an absolute majority of the Iranians go far beyond the demands of a particular group. In the past, we have emphasized that until the freedom of choice and right to organize are not recognized, talk of any social or particular right would be more of a mockery than a reality.
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company fully supports this movement of Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemns any violence and oppression.
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, the Syndicate requests that June 26 which has been called by the International Trade Unions Organization ‘Day of action’ for justice for Iranian workers to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
With hope for freedom and equality
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company