It seems that on one level the Iranian government succeeded. Although I knew that protesters had not simply accepted the corrupted election results the government restrictions mean that a lot less information reaches the outside world, so the international profile is lower.
Display at the protest outside the Iranians embassy in London
The Twitter feed that put together a lot of information during the original protests is still very active, but chaotic as always. I haven’t seen anyone interpreting it, and that is what it needs unless you are prepared to watch it for a while and know a lot about the country. It is good for an impression though, and to see that the protest is still alive.
Fortunately former President and relatively moderate politician Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani made his contribution yesterday at Friday prayers. All protests and most gatherings (even funerals of some killed in the violence) have been banned, but the Islamic Republic can hardly ban Friday prayers; this was used for Rafsanjani to say his piece about the election. That speech and the subsequent street protests have given welcome international publicity (welcome to those who love freedom that is, not to George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley, Lauren Booth and Andrew Gilligan, amongst other less well-known colleagues at Press TV).
My only contribution is to say that Rafsanjani, like Mousavi, appears to be trying to save the Islamic Republic, not to destroy it. However both also appear to want to save the regime by moderating the oppressive side of the government. They also are currently siding with the protesters, even though many of them appear to want true democracy. It is slightly confused, and of course there are probably many protesters who support Mousavi and Rafsanjani’s wish for the regime to survive.
Overall I think that this new flare up of protests that have been smouldering for a few weeks (and started over a month ago now) is positive. Yes there are dangers. People will be hurt, people will be imprisoned and ill-treated, people will die. People are already being hurt, imprisoned, maltreated and killed. That is an ongoing process, so the sooner it is stopped the better. It is easy to forget the long and painful road that led to our freedom, and the millions of dead that litter the roadside. Freedom isn’t free.
The LA Times has a more comprehensive story, they talked to more protesters and report the activity in the street in more detail.
For more on what has been leading up to today’s events Berman Post had a roundup a couple of days ago.
If any recent visitors to this blog, welcome and feel free to scan through my previous comments on the issue of Iran, and my photo post on the protest I joined outside the Iranian Embassy in London. I think the most important thing I have put up so far is the video I have reposted below, from the London protest.
Hat tip to Instapundit for the LA Times and Berman Post links.
Update: Huffinton Post has live blogging of the situation. I understand HuffPo was good last month for that. This is a case where the left's blogs did some fine work, as did their political organisations supporting the protesters; there was broad agreement in the free world across the political divides, even if some political leaders were not sure how to respond.
Update: A more recent roundup from Berman Post, again thanks to Instapundit
Update: Again via Instapundit (what would we do for news of reality without Glen Reynolds?) a blog specifically about democracy in Iran, which has been running since 2005.