SMS: Revolution Now

June 17, 2009 at 12:57 AM Leave a comment

Supporters of Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousevi have again staged a mass rally in Tehran, witnesses told the BBC. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defeated Mirhossein Mousavi in Friday’s election. The Ahmadinejad government, which controls the state media, is trying to restrict coverage. But the Internet is proving to be a resilient force for the opposition.

Clashes broke out between police and groups protesting the election results from early Saturday morning. By June 14 the protests had grown considerably and had become more violent. Burning buses and trash cans and parked cars blocked streets and highways in Tehran and routes leading into the city. Protesters attacked shops, government offices, police stations, police vehicles, gas stations and banks. Large protests escalated into riots, and students started burning and destroying various buildings and items around the campuses.

Authorities have now imposed sweeping restrictions for journalists. Foreign jouralists must now obtain explicit permission before leaving the office to cover any story.

The Internet has been instrumental to organizing many of the protests in Iran. Online sites have been uploading amateur pictures and video, and Twitter, Facebook, and blogs have been places for protesters to gather and exchange information. Twitter has also been used to organize DDOS attacks against pro-Ahmadinejad websites.

Websites such as Twitter (Twitter/mousavi1388) and Facebook (Facebook/mousavi1388) have become a focal point for young, urban Iranians. Still images are on Flickr photostreams of Mousavi1388, Parsaoffline and Sharif. The Wall Street Journal reports that activists are trying to stay one-step ahead of government censors who are actively blocking new proxies.

Twitter delayed a planned upgrade to avoid cutting daytime service to Iranians who have been using it to coordinate protests of the presidential election, reports the Washington Post.

Iran’s citizens continue to record and upload images of the protest. A collection of YouTube videos on The Daily Dish is run by blogger and new media critic Andrew Keen. One blurry YouTube clip, likely shot with a cell phone, showed what appeared to have been a member of the Basij paramilitary force firing down from a second-story window into a courtyard with an AK-47 as protests continued behind a high wall.

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