The Iran crackdown (Update)

We all knew it was coming. It was simply a matter of time. Water cannons, tear gas and riot batons greeted Iranian protesters this morning. Now we’re at a critical juncture. The government has made it clear that they’re not going to put up with any more of these protests. Now it is the protest leaders’ move. Will they try and push forward? Will they try and garner more support? In my opinion, in order for these protests to mean anything, the protest leaders need to get more people out instead of fewer. The protest will need to be more orderly and more civilized… and more Gandhi-like than ever.

Photos of the chaos.

From NYT:

Police officers used sticks and tear gas to force back thousands of demonstrators under plumes of black smoke in the capital on Saturday, a day after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said there would be “bloodshed” if street protests continued over the disputed presidential election.

Separately, state-run media reported that three people were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Tehran shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the southern part of the city, several miles from the scheduled protests. The report of the blast could not be independently confirmed.

The violence unfolded on a day of extraordinary tension across Iran. The opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, appeared at a demonstration in southern Tehran and called for a general strike if he were to be arrested. “I am ready for martyrdom,” he said. (more…)

Update from the BBC:

US President Barack Obama has warned Iran to stop all “unjust action against its own people”, after another day of protests over the presidential poll.

Witnesses said security forces used batons and live ammunition in clashes with protesters, who had gathered in defiance of the country’s leader.

Mr Obama urged Iran’s leaders to “govern through consent, not coercion”.

Defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi repeated calls for the election to be annulled on the grounds it was rigged.

Mr Obama, in a statement from the White House on Saturday, said: “The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights. (more…)