20 September 2009

Iran protests - and still they continue!

Three months after Stalinist relic George Galloway vouchsafed that the protestors were not representative of the people of Iran and that the protest would fizzle out, anti government protests are back with a vengeance.

Last week on tens of thousands of protestors used the annual Al Quds Day rally as a way to voice their opposition against Ahmadinejad’s illegitimate government,

While Ahmadinejad drivelled on repeating his vile Holocaust denial riot police beat protesters who were pelting them with stones in the central Haft-e Tir Square. They also fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who chanted: "Torture and rape are not effective any more."

They also chanted "Not Gaza, Not Lebanon. We are ready to die for Iran."

Protests were not confined to Ahmadinejad’s foul speech and the idiotic anti-Israel demonstration. According to today’s Observer television coverage of an Iranian football match was blacked-out because sections of the crowd were chanting anti-government slogans and waving green emblems.

Coverage of a premier league match between Esteghlal and Steel Azin took place at Tehran's Azadi stadium just hours after the Al-Quds Day was disrupted apparently after bosses of the state broadcaster, Irib, learned of the presence of protesters inside the stadium.

According to Iranian websites, the match was initially broadcast for a few minutes in black-and-white without crowd noise to show that technical problems were being experienced. The transmission then cut back to a studio presenter who said that the problems had arisen because Irib had "sent only one camera to the stadium".

Eventually the match was shown nearly an hour late, again without sound and with close-up shots focusing solely on the pitch and editing out the 70,000 spectators.
The news website Mehr described the live broadcast failure as "unprecedented". Aziz Mohammadi, the head of Iran's premier league, blamed it on Esteghlal's refusal to agree to a 15-minute kick-off delay to give extra preparation time to cameramen who, he said, had been under added pressure because of the earlier coverage of Quds Day. However, that explanation was dismissed by club bosses who said Irib had cited "technical problems" throughout the match.

The Mizan Press website – linked to the opposition National Religious party – said the real reason was the presence of supporters Mir Hossein Moussavi who was cheated of victory in June. "Following the self-motivated presence of the green wave in Azadi stadium, Irib did not cover live the Esteghlal-Steel Azin match," it wrote. "Irib's lie about camera malfunction and receiving only black-and-white images from inside the stadium was uncovered an hour later by the colour transmission using close-up and specially edited frames. In these images the spectators were not shown at all."

Suspicions that the broadcast was delayed deliberately were bolstered by reports from listeners who said they heard chants in support of Mousavi during a live radio broadcast of the game. It was the second time on Friday that TV bosses had been blindsided by opposition protests. Hours earlier, Ahmadinejad was publicly embarrassed during a live interview when opposition chants of "Ahmadi, Ahmadi, resign, resign" could clearly be heard while he was speaking.

The incident also exposed the authorities' sensitivity to expressions of dissent in sporting arenas, especially football, which has an avid following in Iran. Days after the disputed election, four members of Iran's national team were banned from the game after displaying their support for Mousavi by wearing green wristbands during a World Cup qualifying match against South Korea.

It all goes to show that the protests are not over. There may not be the huge spontaneous demonstrations we saw in June but the protestors are just as motivated to get their message over. These are not the “Gilded Youth” of North Tehran as regime apologists like Seumas Milne and George Galloway claim they are from all sections of Iranian society. Their fellow protestors have been beaten killed, arrested, even tortured and still they protest.. I am not sure I would be as brave as these people.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for this important update, jams. I don't think I am that brave, either.

Susan English Mason said...

Why is my President silent on this shameful situation? I'm just saying...

jams o donnell said...

I can only applaud the bravery of the protestors. We certainly haven't heard the last of them

It's probably best for western leaders to stay back. Give general support but don't intervene Pouty

Claude said...

It's not true that we're a Global Community. We each live in our own little corner, safe or in danger. Nothing has changed except the fact that we know now when people bleed, and where...We might have an opinion, but we have no voice in the affairs of others. What's the point of knowing? We can't even call a police to protect them when those brave, foolish people are beaten up.

jams o donnell said...

I care Claudia, but then I know people who have been out protesting

Claude said...

I care too, Jams. But our silence and powerlessness are very frustrating. And if I were on the streets protesting I would wonder where is the support that I need.

jams o donnell said...

THe Iranianpeople know that it is they and only they who can change the regime. A friend of mine was tellign me about the Friday protests. The protestors do appreciate the moral support they receive from abroad