Iran: Heavy Security Deployment In Tehran Amidst Protest Fears
Security is said to be “tight” in the Iranian capital, amidst fears of a fresh wave of opposition protests on Ashura and national Students Day.
According to Green Voice of Freedom sources, on Tuesday anti-riot police in full armour gear and security forces on motorcycles were patrolling a number of neighbourhoods in central Tehran. In addition, helicopters circled in the central districts, keeping a close eye on developments on the ground.
A recently uploaded YouTube video shows a heavy security presence in Tehran on the holy day of Ashura. The clip appears to shows security forces positioned in important areas of city’s centre such as Haft-e-Tir Square, Enghelab Sq., Vali-Asr Sq., the intersection of Hafez and Enghelab Avenues as well as the intersection of Enghelab and Vali-Asr Avenues.
“The atmosphere [was] completely dominated by security [forces]. The non-stop hovering of helicopters, as well as patrols by the special guard and the police are reminiscent of the Ashura [protests in December 2009],” said another eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The intersection of Shademan and Sattarkhan, [was] filled with anti-riot forces and there [were] many police vehicles with cages. It was the same situation in Towhid Square,” he continued.
In December 2009, a wave of anti-regime demonstrations known as the “Ashura” protests swept Iranian cities. Clashes between Green Movement supporters and security forces during the protests left at least eleven protesters dead in Tehran, three of whom were run over reputedly by police cars. Among the slain protesters was Seyed Ali Mousavi, nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was killed by an assassin’s bullet to the heart.
At least four other protesters were killed by security forces in the north-western city of Tabriz.
At the time, Tehran’s Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan acknowledged the arrest of 300 individuals on state television, but shamelessly claimed that those killed included one person who fell off a bridge and two others who were killed in a car accident. Radan went on to add that only one protester had been killed by bullet. However, “considering the fact that the police did not use firearms, this incident is extremely suspicious, and is being investigated,” he said.
No one has been brought to justice for any of the crimes committed on that day.