Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.(Ezekiel 38:21)

IRAN: As many as 3 million protesters anticipated at Thursday rally

LA Times
February 8, 2010

The 22nd day of the Persian calendar month of Bahman, the date 31 years ago when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared Iran an Islamic republic, is traditionally a time for official patriotic fervor and the unveiling of national achievements.

But on Sunday, a source inside Tehran police headquarters told a friend of the Los Angeles Times in Iran that security forces expect as many as 3 million anti-government protesters to descend on the center of the capital during the holiday, which falls on Thursday this year, after loud calls by opposition leaders to take the streets.

The government is also expected to be prepared, deploying about 12,000 baton-wielding Basiji militiamen from outside the capital and legions of supporters bused in from around the country.

"The government managed to collect and gather around 500,000 supporters," the friend of the newspaper said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This number is very real. All of their efforts have amounted to 500,000."

Official warnings and acts of defiance, including a protest at a Tehran university (above), continued to ratchet up tensions in Iran ahead of the anniversary.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a televised address to the air force, insisted Iran would demonstrate unity and "give all arrogant powers a punch in the mouth" on Thursday. He issued a stern warning to those who continue to oppose the June reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, describing them as agents of the deposed monarchy

"It is now completely known that those who stood against the Iranian nation's choice in the election don't belong to this nation," he said. "They are either counterrevolutionary or are following in the steps of counterrevolutionaries out of ignorance and obstinacy."

On the streets, officials continue to prepare for the holiday, setting up loudspeakers along the traditional march route (see video below) to drown out opposition slogans. Police chief Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam said security forces would team up with plainclothes pro-government Basiji militiamen and fan out across the city to "neutralize all conspiracies of the enemies."

Entire article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/02/iran-tensions-rise-ahead-of-thursdays-anticipated-22-bahman-confrontations.html

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