Whatever coalition remains from the defeated Iranian uprisings of 2009 hit the streets again today for demonstrations, hoping to build on momentum from the 2011 Tunisia-Egypt Wave of Freedom Everywhere. After all, the Iranian regime had been encouraging the demonstrations in Egypt; why shouldn't it allow such protests in its own streets? Because then the Iranian regime might get overthrown, duh.
The opposition leaders from 2009's Green Revolution were put under house arrest foe today's protests, and it's obviously much harder for media outlets to park their cameras in the streets of Tehran. But whichever witnesses were able to get in touch with the New York Times, at least, guessed that about 20,000 to 30,000 demonstrators showed up "across the country." It's not an insignificant number of people. But for the Iranian regime, it's well below the number of protesters needed for leaders to give a shit about the ugliness of attacking them all immediately. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has issued a statement denouncing the regime's "hypocrisy."
Still, some small groups of protesters may have been able to survive the early clampdown and establish footholds in the city, according to the Guardian: "The riot police and government-sponsored plainclothes basiji militia used teargas, wielded batons and opened fire to disperse protesters who chanted 'death to the dictator'... Witnesses told the Guardian that despite a heavy security presence, small groups of people succeeded in gathering in main squares leading to Azadi ('freedom') Square – a chosen focal point."
Iranian state TV has been covering the protests: the ones in Bahrain and Yemen, only. But the Revolutionary Guard-aligned Fars TV did pop in near the end of the day to offer this completely insane recap of Iran's own events: "The Fars news agency, a semiofficial service linked to the Revolutionary Guard, indirectly confirmed the protests by saying an unspecified number of demonstrators had been arrested. It called participants 'hypocrites, monarchists, ruffians and seditionists' and ridiculed them for not chanting slogans about Egypt, the nominal reason for the protests." People are all calling each other hypocrites today, as though it were a garden-variety blog feud. But only Fars TV is running with "monarchists, ruffians and seditionists" on top of that. The station also declared that "agents of the United States and Zionism were defeated again." So the United States and Israel were trying to destroy Iran in broad daylight, today? Interesting that Fars TV didn't spend the whole day covering this monumental news story, then.
So we'll see what happens, I guess.
Check out the Guardian for a great running liveblog of the protests in Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, and wherever else the party's drifted.
[Image via AP]