Breaking News: Swelling Protests Confronting Violence by Security Forces
(20 February 2011, 18h00 Tehran Time) An eyewitness told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that large scale protests are unfolding on major streets of Tehran and the security forces have resorted to the use of live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Despite large presence of security and police in major intersections, crowds have been gathering since early afternoon and continue to swell.
The eyewitness reported gatherings throughout Tehran and described his observations from Valiasr Street, Tehran’s main thoroughfare. “There are large crowds on the streets and although it is raining, their numbers are expected to increase as the evening approaches. The protestors are very determined to resist attempts by security forces to disperse them. The chants are primarily ‘Death to the Dictator,’” he said.
Another witness on Mirdamad Street in Tehran reported security forces are using live ammunition against protestors and one person is believed to have been killed there. “There is gunfire and crowds are running in the streets,” he reported by phone.
The Campaign also has received reports of protests taking place in major cities, including Mashad (around Rahnamaii Street), Shiraz (on Mollasadra Street), Isfahan (Enqelab Square),and Tabriz (Saat Square). According to these reports, security forces are currently attempting to disperse the crowds using force.
Internet connection has been slowed down and access to Gmail has been sporadic throughout the day.
Currently, large crowds have gathered in front of state-controlled Radio and Television building in Tehran. Several groups of protestors have also managed to join together in Tehran’s Enqelab Square.
The Campaign will report on unfolding protests as it receives eyewitness reports.