Posted by: kenwbudd | December 6, 2009

Iran: Student and Civil Unrest provokes Internet Censorship, Journalists confined to quarters

As the rain poured down, Government opponents shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “Death to the Dictator” from Tehran’s rooftops on the eve of student demonstrations planned for Monday.

Authorities choked off Iran’s Internet access and have given severe warnings to journalists working for foreign media, to stay in their offices for the next three days. Journalists working for foreign media organisations are banned from covering Monday’s protests. They were told by the Culture Ministry that their press cards would be suspended for three days starting Monday.

Thousands of riot police and Revolutionary Guard members armed with tear gas, batons and firearms were deployed Monday outside Tehran University to prevent student demonstrations backed by the opposition. Witnesses said police were conducting ID checks on anyone entering the campus to prevent opposition activists from joining the students.

The measures were aimed at depriving the opposition of its key means of mobilising the masses as Iran’s clerical rulers keep a tight lid on dissent.

Government opponents are seeking, nonetheless, to get large numbers of demonstrators to turn out on the streets on Monday and show their movement still has a potent momentum.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi threw his support behind the student demonstrations and declared that his movement is still alive. A statement posted on his Web site said the fundamental clerical establishment cannot silence students, free speech and was losing legitimacy in the minds of the Iranian people.

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