New wave of protests, repression and cyber-action in Iran

By staff writers
June 17, 2009

After hundreds of thousands took to the streets yesterday, a new wave of protests has begun in Iran over claims of election-fixing and lack of freedom. Amid a state clamp-down, the internet is being used to assist protesters.

Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi are planning a new demonstration in Tehran today, according to the BBC and other agencies drawing on reports - many of them undercover - from Iran.

There are also more protests in towns around the country. Demonstrators appear, run and melt away to try to foil the secret police, riot police and religious police - who are beating people, making arrests and imprisoning those seen as ringleaders.

The state is restricting the telephone system and seeking to monitor internet and social networking messages but people are using mobile phone images and video to spread news of what is happening and to provide information on how and where to gather and disperse.

The proposed opposition rally in Tehran comes after overnight raids on university dormitories in several Iranian cities and as two leading pro-reform figures were arrested.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has sought to calm tensions and has called for an end to rioting. He has promised election recounts in some areas. However, it is unclear who will carry out and monitor these and opponents of President Ahmadinejad say that many were prevented from voting

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected last week with almost two-thirds of the vote. This roughly corresponded with predictive opinion polling but voting irregularities and a late surge to Mir Hossein Mousavi, have led to claims of fraud and fixing.

Analysts say that Ahmadinejad probably has majority support in the country but opposition is substantial and is growing.

The state media have barely reported the protests, concentrating instead on President Ahmadinejad's visit to Russia.

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