Violent riots as Ahmadinejad declares Iran elections 2009 victory
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared an overwhelming victory in the Iran Elections 2009 results, but his chief opponent Hossein Mousavi has called this out to be fraud and people have been protesting in the streets.
Three people are reported to have been killed in the protests.
Al-Arabiya reports three opposition supporters killed in clashes with police
Reports out of Tehran are saying that 3,000 Mousavi supporters have taken to the streets to protest what they are saying is a rigged election.
Mousavi however has aked his supporters to avoid violence.
Up to 3,000 Mousavi supporters took part in the protests after Mousavi was defeated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent president.
Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili, reporting from Tehran, said major streets in the north of the capital had come to a standstill.
"Coming up the street there were running battles happening between riot police and students and there were refuse bins alight in the middle of the road," he said.
"I saw riot police hitting student's with sticks. I saw students - or young people - throwing stones at the riot police, trying to knock them off their motorcycles.
"But you didn't get a sense that there was any kind of organised movement in this."
Some other reports from Iran have said that special forces units are in the streets and some are striking protesting civilians, mostly students, with batons, while the students have been throwing rocks and chanting.
At 3 p.m. local time, many shopkeepers in the area had shuttered or barred their businesses; others watched from storefronts with shutters lowered half-way, in case they needed to close in a hurry. Plainclothes police were also on the streets.
Lindsey Hilsum from Channel 4 news has filed a report from Tehran saying this:
“I feel like I went to sleep in one country and woke up in another,” as the peaceful rallies staged by opposition supporters in the last week gave way to violent suppression of dissent on Saturday. Her report includes footage of Mr. Moussavi’s defiant press conference on Friday night, and the text of his statement on Saturday, in which he said: “The result of what I see from such a performance by dishonest people is shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic and the rule of deception and dictatorship.”
There now some reports of casualities, and confrontations near the Interior Ministry, Vanak Square, and that the city's text messaging services were not working. Access to social networking sites are also shut down.
"The democracy is dead in Iran, by these elections. … It is some kind of catastrophe, by this large fraud," said journalist Tahere Eibodi, as she stood outside the campaign headquarters of Ahmadinjeda's principal opponent, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, a relative moderate who attracted intense support from many young people.
Ahmadinejad has said to have won over 62 percent of the vote, which means about 24 million ballots. Mousavi has said this is a fraud.
"They cheated and rigged the election," Saeed Laylaz, a prominent reform economist and adviser to Mousavi, said by telephone.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks out about the Iran elections.
It appears that many wanted a chage of course after four years of Ahmadinejad's rule, and after only a few hours of declaring victory, the security forces in the streets were asserting a heavy presence.
The government and the media has called the election a success.
The two other candidates in the race were Mohsen Rezaie, former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and reformist cleric Mahdi Karroubi, a two-time speaker of Iran’s parliament. Both received miniscule percentages of the vote.
Turnout in the voting numbers were around 85 percent.
There is no way to independently verify the vote totals for either candidate.
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