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Contested Iranian Election Prompts Information Lockdown

iranian-protestsAlthough the Iranian presidential election between Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took place on June 12, unrest still rocks the city. Boasting an 85 percent voter turnout, Ahmadinejad was reelected to the surprise of the citizens and experts who predicted Moussavi would easily take the election. The unexpected outcome prompted protestors and outraged citizens to not only claim a rigged election but to also take to the streets in protest.

Calling for a reelection, the protestors grew simultaneously bolder and more frantic as the situation erupted into violence. Basij is believed to be responsible for the majority of this violence, including the deaths of seven protestors. Basij is a paramilitary force taking its order from the Revolutionary Guard, an enforcer of stringent Islamic codes.

News coverage of the protests, however, is limited and sketchy at best. This is primarily due to the statements of the Revolutionary Guard, who have threatened to prosecute any foreign media outlet reporting on the ongoing crisis.

They have also threatened any website reporting on the incident, claiming that the dissemination of this information will further incite riots—an argument utilized by many regimes trying to tightly control and spin the spread of information to their citizens and the world.

The Revolutionary Guard has also put a block on social networking venues such as Facebook and Twitter so protestors, reporters, and witnesses can’t share information through these channels either.

And while some protestors have removed themselves from the street, citing fear at the increased police presence and instances of violence, their opposition has in no way stopped. They have just had to become a little more covert. To that end, people are posting photos and videos of the protests through venues such as Facebook. And while this offers the world glimpses into the events, many of the videos are posted anonymously with little information regarding the location of the footage, making them difficult to verify.

For one of these glimpses, the following video contains a few minutes from a June 13 protest:

[youtube 09ktqc8Q6rc&feature=related]

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