New Iranian Protests Turn Violent

Journalists banned, phones blocked, university locked down
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2009 6:53 AM CST
Tear gas fired by Iranian security in an anti-government protest billows in the streets of Tehran in this Nov. 4, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A state-run rally devolved into chaos in Tehran today, as police clashed with opposition supporters renewing their post-election discontent. Police fired tear gas at the protesters in various squares throughout the city, while plainclothes Basij militia beat demonstrators with batons, witnesses told Reuters and the AP. Elsewhere, protesters and the militia threw stones at each other. Opposition websites say at least two women were arrested.

Information is difficult to confirm, because foreign journalists were not allowed to leave their offices. Tehran has taken draconian steps to isolate Tehran University, a hotbed of opposition support, shutting down the area’s mobile phone networks and fencing in the campus, plastering the fences with banners quoting the Supreme Leader. Roughly 2,000 Basij militia members were brought in, ostensibly to hold an official “Student Day” rally, but also to suppress protests called for by Mir Hossein Mousavi.

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