Reports: Protests In Tehran; Mousavi Under House Arrest; Some Clashes
"Iranian police have placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest," the BBC reports, citing Mousavi's official website as its source. And the network adds that the website "says the move is intended to block him from attending a rally in Tehran in support of the protests in Egypt."
The Associated Press says that "security forces cut phone lines and blockaded the home of an Iranian opposition leader Monday in attempts to stop him attending a planned rally in support of Egypt's uprising, a reformist website reported. Iranian authorities have poured police and militiamen onto the streets of Tehran to challenge any pro-Egypt marches, which officials worry could turn into demonstrations against Iran's ruling system."
As for the rally, Reuters writes that "hundreds of Iranians marched toward a Tehran square on Monday in a banned rally supporting popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, but their way was blocked by police and security forces, witnesses said."
Related news: The U.S. State Department has set up a Twitter feed aimed at Iranians. It's @USAdarFarsi.
Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. The Latest From The BBC:
"Thousands of opposition supporters have clashed with security forces in the centre of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Police used tear gas and detained dozens of protesters, who called the rally in solidarity with the recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The BBC also received reports of similar protests being held in the cities of Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz."
Update at 12:05 p.m. ET:"Iranian police have fired tear gas at opposition demonstrators gathering in central Tehran in support of the protests in Egypt," the BBC says, and "a BBC producer in the Iranian capital, who was affected by the gas, described central Tehran as 'total chaos.' " That correspondent also said "severe clashes" were taking place there had been many arrests.
And the AP is starting to move photos of what's been happening today in Tehran:
Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. NBC News' Ali Arouzi reports from Tehran that the protests began at 10 a.m. local time, that a young girl "went out outside the Revolutionary Court [and] climbed on top of a big construction crane and was waving a green flag and holding up signs and pictures of protesters [who] had been arrested last year." Later, he said, "thousands of Iranians" took the streets.
"Crowds were beaten back [and] tear gas was used," Arouzi said, "and they're still out there right now ... defying a strict warning from the government." (Note: The NBC video includes scenes from Tehran on Friday, when people came out to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Those are not scenes from today.)
Update at 10:40 a.m. ET: As we noted earlier (see below), there were also protests in Bahrain today. And there have been demonstrations again in Yemen.
The AP says thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of Sanaa for the fourth straight day. It adds that "a counter-demonstration of at least a hundred government supporters holding up pictures of President Ali Abdullah Saleh confronted the protesters, shouting slogans against terrorism and supporting the government's call for dialogue. The two groups scuffled in front of the university and three people were injured, two from stones and one was stabbed a traditional Yemeni dagger."
Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: As Twitter, YouTube and other sites heat up with "reports" from Tehran, IranCitizenNews offers this wise advice:
"Lots of fake and doctored videos circulating right now. Some IRI agents basically trying to confuse ppl &..."
Update at 10 a.m. ET. Clashes Reported In Tehran:
"Eyewitnesses report that sporadic clashes have erupted in central Tehran's Enghelab or Revolution square between security forces and opposition protesters. The demonstrators were chanting 'death to the dictator,' referring to the country's hardline president that the opposition beleives was reelected through fraud in 2009."
Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Protests, and clashes, in Bahrain:
"Bahrain's security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday at thousands of anti-government protesters heeding calls to unite in a major rally and bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf for the first time," the Associated Press reports. "The punishing tactics by authorities underscore the sharply rising tensions in the tiny island kingdom — a strategic Western ally and home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet."
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