Police, Protesters Clash Violently in Tehran

Updated 1:51 p.m.

A video making the rounds on YouTube purporting to be footage from a rally today in Tehran shows a chaotic and violent scene: black smoke billows from a fire burning in the street as a large crowd gathers. In a subsequent scene, an injured, possibly deceased, man is carried by his hands and feet through the streets. Words in Farsi scrolling across the screen (roughly translated by The Post's Tara Bahrampour) refer to "martyrs" killed by the pro-government Basij militia. As with other amateur videos emerging on YouTube from Iran, the footage is unedited and graphic, and The Post cannot vouch for its authenticity.

Updated 1:13 p.m.

A female student speaking to CNN's Ivan Watson from inside Iran described a brutal crackdown in which protesters were "beaten like animals."

Hours after Iran's supreme leader decried "bullying" by those protesting the disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, security forces used clubs and tear gas to disperse demonstrators gathered outside of Iran's Parliament, report The Post's Thomas Erdbrink, William Branigin and Debbi Wilgoren.

One witness told CNN
that at a Tehran square where demonstrators had planned to protest, police beat people like "animals." Another CNN source said security forces were waiting for the protesters. "They all have guns and riot uniforms. It was like a mouse trap," the source said. "I see many people with broken arms, legs, heads -- blood everywhere -- pepper gas like war."

A reliable source on Twitter is linking to this video, headlined as footage of today's protests in Tehran.

A report (in Farsi) published on the Web site of the organization Human Rights Activists of Iran said the scene was one of "naked violence," with riot police using tear gas and shooting in the air to break up the protests staged by supporters of Ahmadinejad's rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Several reliable sources on Twitter are pointing to this video uploaded to YouTube that appears to show Iranian security forces beating protesters. It is not clear whether the video was shot today, but it's consistent with witness reports of clashes happening this week in Tehran.

If you or someone you know is inside Iran and can give us more details on the scene at the protests, contact us in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #insideTehran.

-Liz Heron

June 24, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  | Category:  world
Previous: Amid Iran Crackdown, Online Chatter Indicates Protests Will Resume | Next: Report: Election Committee Confirms Ahmadinejad Win


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This is the time to help stop this brutality. If the democratic world doesn't help the people of Iran now and let the thugs kill and supress them, we will be forced to spend Billions of dollars later to fight a nuclear powered Islamist Nazi government. Flesh and bone against bullets is not a fair game!

Posted by: emeel | June 24, 2009 12:50 PM

Mousavi and his supporters have not asked for any help and unless they do, any help will be used by the fascists in charge as an excuse for claiming "outside interference."

How come the only person who gets that is Obama?

I know this is painful to watch but I suspect many Iranians knew these troubles were eventually going to come home to roost. How else do you explain riot police so well-equipped, numerous and so ready to take arms against their own people? This has been in the government's planning for a long time.

As a holy man, the Ayatollah should be ashamed of himself, so willing to sacrifice the lives of his followers so he can maintain his hold on temporal power on earth.

I bet when and if Mousavi and his people ask for help, it will be from another Islamic nation, not the west. People, you need to get used to that idea.

The U.S. and U.K. toppled a legitimately elected government in Iran in 1953. Sounds like ancient history to you, sure, but Iranians still harbor anger and grudges over the installation of The Shah against their wishes. Out of respect, we need to stay out of their revolution and just be ready to take any refugees and care for them.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 24, 2009 1:43 PM

Clubbing women, and guys who are lying down -- got some tough cops there!

Posted by: fallschurch1 | June 24, 2009 1:53 PM

emeel wrote: "This is the time to help stop this brutality. If the democratic world doesn't help the people of Iran now and let the thugs kill and supress them, we will be forced to spend Billions of dollars later to fight a nuclear powered Islamist Nazi government. Flesh and bone against bullets is not a fair game!

Is that you George W. Bush? Sounds an awful lot like what you would say. But the grown ups are in charge now. As tony_in_Durham noted, no one has asked for our help. And be careful what you wish for. Mousavi has no problem with the Iranian government and institutions or policies, just the fraud. He is no friend of the west, he is no democrat since he sees no problem with the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council having dictatorial power, nor the Revolutionary Guard that only answers to them.

Hopefully this protest will morph into a sustained movement that will push for change over time in Iran. That will take time. There are no political parties in Iran so Mousavi has no political base, no political institutions to assist a movement. He is basically powerless and the protestors know this. Its up to them to first want freedom and then to be willing to fight for freedom. What I'm finding fascinating is the women, who seem to be leading the charge. This is new, especially in the Muslim world. It will result in change, especially for women in the Muslim world. But the rate of political change will be determined by the dictators, which means don't expect much except more repression for now.

The question is whether this movement will grow and solidify or fade away. That will determine Iran's future.

Posted by: bevjims1 | June 24, 2009 2:09 PM

Firstly, we should not sit back and watch the Islamist Nazi suppress a cry for democracy just as a matter of principle. Secondly, helping them will benefit every free spirit in the democratic world, not just Mousavi. This is not the least about Mousavi, we know it, Iranian's on the street know it too and Islamist Nazis in Iran surely know it better than anybody and that's why they are coming down so hard on these people. They know it’s the Islamist Nazism that is being at stake. Why should they be so hard on the supporters, when Mousavi already passed their own screening process? Because they know Iranians are protesting against the Islamist Nazis (and maybe even against Islam full stop).
We didn't tolerate Nazis in WW2, why should we tolerate Islamist Nazi today? Keep your eyes on the ball, this is about civilian democratic people who are getting killed by a militant Islamist Nazi regime who is obviously pursuing a nuclear ambition. Today, it’s their own people, tomorrow it’ll be the world. At the very least, help these people fight a fair battle, help them help themselves.
Yes, they are asking for help, that's why their signs are in English. Helping them may take some toll but the odds are far better than letting their Nazi rulers suffocate their cry for democracy....If you want to improve the economy in the US, this is where you should start….. bevjims1 as for the change over time that you mentioned, yes time will eventually bring about a democratic world, but we still DO need to take action in the process of waiting for the evolution of a brave new world. Passivism, and turning a blind eye and let the Islamist Nazis crush them, doesn't speed up the political evolution that you mentioned.

Posted by: emeel | June 24, 2009 3:13 PM

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