The Daily Beast's Jason Shams—who spent months protesting in the streets of Tehran—monitors the latest unconfirmed dispatches from the opposition on blogs and Facebook below.
UPDATE: Mir-Hossein Mousavi was approaching Azadi Square, where Ahmadinejad gave his speech, when he was surrounded by baton wielding plainclothes militia, and wasn't able to join the people, according to an opposition web site, Kalame.org
His wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who took the unlikely step of campaigning with her husband last year, was allegedly surrounded and beaten with batons on the head and shoulder. But protestors formed a circle around her and escorted her away. She's safe now, according to Kalame.
Click Image Below to View Photos of the Anniversary Rally
Thursday's protests on the Iranian Republic’s 31st anniversary aren't over. It’s still difficult to know just how many protestors made it out to the streets, but the word is that many have already been arrested; some were shot—though not as many who die in traffic accidents in Tehran on any given day.
A call is going out for people to go to the main squares this evening, according to news sources and green movement blogs. And the struggle is continuing and moving towards north Tehran. The police are very violent and using teargas. Shooting has been overheard near main squares and intersections.
Click Below to Watch Video of Protests in Tehran
• What’s Happening in Iran: Photos, Video, Dispatches The government undertook extensive preparation for the protests, erecting barricades, bulking up the riot gear, and, in the last month, bringing in fancy new Chinese anti-riot vehicles. The foreign reporters in attendance—the ones the government had been boasting about for a week—were bused in and bused out, allowed to cover only President Ahmadinejad’s speech, in which he announced the government had for the first time enriched uranium to a 20 percent level. The handling of the press is a sure sign of how shaky the government feels about its legitimacy. They've even blocked Gmail to “increase trust” between the people and government.
For their efforts, the government got a few pictures of people waving flags and holding up pictures of the President and Supreme Leader, and a recorded speech in which Ahmadinejad rushed through the transcript while echoes of “liar, liar” could be heard on the radio.
Scores of Basij, Iran’s riot police, were deployed in the early morning hours to the location of Ahmadinejad's speech. And travelers coming into Tehran for the activities were interrogated and their version of Social Security numbers recorded.
In order to sneak past barricades to hear the speech, protesters carried pictures of the Supreme Leader and the president.
One blog read, “It's 6am, my mother knows that I will be going out, I'm holding back tears. My mother's eyes are worried, she saw my father off the same way 25 years ago to defend the country. My father never came back, and my mother raised me with great difficulty. I convinced her last night that I'm going to finish what my father left halfway.”
Just as protestors geared up, Revolutionary Guard forces riding motorcycles engaged in their old tricks. They marked people with spray paint or shot them with paintball guns when they couldn’t arrest them because things were too chaotic. Later, when things died down and the mass groups dissipated, the Guards arrested those with paint on their clothes.
Throughout the day, there was word of various high-profile arrests; those reports remain unconfirmed. Reform leader Mehdi Karroubi's guards took a beating. Former President Mohammad Khatami popped in and out for a second. It still hasn't been confirmed, but it seems that Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the Green Movement leader whose presidential loss to Ahmadinejad in June sparked massive protests and cries of fraud, was out there somewhere. But rumors started swirling because he wasn’t visibly present.
Nevertheless, the greens touted their new demand, “referendum, referendum,” and were heard.
They also came out in Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz. My sources tell me the protests are still raging down in Isfahan, shooting and crowds and the whole nine yards. But that's just they way they are down there.
Jason Shams is an American-Iranian who has spent most of his life in Iran. He has worked as translator, interpreter, journalist, and political analyst in Iran for more than 20 years. He moved to the United States in November after being part of the Green Movement for months.