At Least Four Dead As Protests Engulf Country
Moussavi’s Nephew among the dead
(27 December 2009) Widespread protests began early in numerous Iranian cities today, and have resulted in the death of at least four civilians in Tehran, including the nephew of Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported.
The website of the reformist faction in the Parliament, www.parlemannews.ir, reported that the 35 year old nephew of Moussavi, the opposition leader, was killed. Seyd Ali Moussavi died from a gun-shot to his heart at noon in Enqelab Square in Tehran, the website said.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Tehran and other major cities, including Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Qom. Numerous credible reports and videos indicate that Basij militia and security forces viciously attacked protestors, many of whom have aggressively resisted violence by the authorities.
“The government and its consistently violent response to protestors are pushing the country toward chaos and bloodshed. There is no end in sight and this cycle of violence is extremely dangerous,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
Mobile telephone networks have been disabled in central Tehran and media have been banned from the protest areas, but eyewitnesses confirm that attacks by government forces against the Ashura protests are the most brutal since the June post-election events.
An eyewitness told the Campaign that Basij forces attacked protestors near Daneshjoo Park, beating them with batons, wood sticks and metal pipes. He reported that after a protestor’s dead body was moved through the crowd, protestors started to beat back Basijis and brought down several from their motorcycles, setting the vehicles on fire.
“The Basij and special forces were extremely violent. They beat protestors directly on the head. There were many people with bloodied heads and faces. A young protestor was tied to the back of a van and dragged on the asphalt. Protestors attacked the van, took the passengers out and set the van on fire. There were thousands of special forces and Basij members confronting the protestors,” he said.
An eyewitness told the Campaign live shots were fired in Enqelab Street and other eyewitnesses also said live ammunition was used against the protestors at Pol-e College where three people have been reported killed. According to several eyewitnesses, by late afternoon, government forces were busy cleaning and washing blood-covered streets to destroy any signs of the violent confrontations. More protests are expected during the night in Tehran.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls for an immediate end to violence against demonstrators, in accordance with Iran’s international obligations and United Nations standards.