Iran Protests Continue Despite Crackdown
The government is lashing out, in what some see as a sign of political panic.
Despite the tough government crackdown, Iran's opposition appears to be operating on the premise that the time is now to reform Iran's theocratic system. Its nominal leadership – Mir Hossein Mousavi, former president Mohamed Khatami, and reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi – met this week in a broadened push for greater democracy and continued resistance against the Ahmadinejad's government.
Demonstrations continued through Wednesday, though more localized and limited than the early days of June's mass rallies.
In Tehran's Grand Bazaar there are some signs of a three-day strike called in protest of the government, timed with the religious holiday of Etekaf. For years Iran's government encouraged the three-day observance for the birth of Imam Ali. This year the holiday is being used for political cover so that people can go on strike without punishment.
Other forms of protest designed to evade the government crackdown involve green graffiti on neighborhood walls, often "V" signs for "victory," and writing opposition slogans on paper money that circulates through the country. "This is a second protest level. They want to try to keep the momentum going. Every opportunity that they get they want to show that the struggle continues," said Shahriar Shahabi, an Iranian analyst in Dubai who says protests continued in Shiraz, Mashad, and other cities. He says that if successful, Mousavi's plan to create a new political party would be a pivotal boost to opposition efforts.
Nightly rooftop chants of Allahu Akbar, held between 9 and 11 p.m. around the country, have continued since the June 12 election. Security forces have raided homes and attacked rooftop protesters, ending in at least two reported shooting deaths. This week, with severe sandstorms clouding the air of Tehran, protesters took advantage of the low visibility. "It is going crazy here…it is very very loud, and there is a lot of emotion," Ehsan, 34, wrote in an email to ABC News during Tuesday night's protest.
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