Hundreds of arrests in Tehran, silence on the streets, but the revolt continues
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of policemen in riot gear patrol the streets of the capital to prevent and suppress any "illegal" gatherings after a week of protests against the manipulation of presidential elections. Yesterday there were no demonstrations, but the day before at least 10 people were killed in clashes between police and demonstrators. The demonstrations – with a lower turnout than previous ones - were a direct challenge to the warning/threat of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei not to hold more demonstrations, or pay the penalty.
The police said that after the riots of June 20, 457 people were arrested. Even journalists and bloggers experienced violence. According to Reporters Sans Frontières at least 23 of them were arrested last week. The foreign media - BBC, CNN, Al Arabiya, - are under restrictions and subject to expulsions.
Ahmadinejad, the victorious President who has Khamenei’s blessing, reiterated once again that Britain and the United States must end their "interference". Allegations against London came from the Foreign Ministry, which claims that the British secret service infiltrated Tehran in the run-up to the elections.
Meanwhile there are increasing signs of division in the leadership. Yesterday it was rumoured that entire family of Hashemi Rafsanjani - Ahmadinejad's personal enemy – were arrested. In the evening the news came that they had been released. Moussavi, the apparently defeated presidential candidate, continues to demand new elections to be annulment of those suspected of fraud. He has asked his supporters to continue to express their dissent, but in a “contained” manner to avoid further violence of oppression. Former President and reformist Muhammad Khatami has demanded the release of all those arrested in recent days.
Attempts to depict the dissent of the past week as part of a "foreign conspiracy" is one way of trying to save the face of a system that people acknowledge to be corrupt and far from the needs of the population. Although there were no violent episodes overnight, from the roof tops of the city "Allah ahkbar," the cry that 30 years ago led to the fall of the shah and now is used as a warning to Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, resounded.