Eyewitness Inside Tehran Describes Brutal Police Attacks and Shootings

By Sadie Bass

Jul 9, 2009 5:30pm

ABC's Lara Setrakian with an update on Iran: An apparent eyewitness account from Tehran today, came to me in an email in Persian. "At 5 pm we went to one of the meeting points, but there was no one there…At 6 pm we were at the intersection of Palestine and Keshavarz Blvds (the center of town). The police were busy identifying people. There were two groups: the disciplinary forces (police) and the plainclothes (lebas shakhsi). Then we went towards Laleh Park but we saw that the demonstrators were coming from Laleh Park toward Vali Asr and they were shouting "Mir Hossein, Ya Hossein." We asked them why they're coming this way and they said every other way was closed, we had to change direction. Again we arrived at intersection of Palestine and Keshavarz Blvds and the police attacked with tear gas and batons. We were stuck and being attacked from both sides.   People had opened the doors of their houses, many were seeking refuge in the houses. People's cigarettes and the fires people had lit in their gardens were counteracting the tear gas. When things calmed down a bit we went toward Keshavarz again, but this time we were encircled from three sides — East, West, and the Northern streets and alleyways. Suddenly an empty bus appeared and drove straight into the demonstration. Inside the bus was filled with plainclothes officers who were hiding and wanted to attack from the center of the crowd. We ran away toward the southern alleyways, one out of five houses open their doors for us. We heard shootings — we don't know if the bullets injured anybody. But thereafter the houses were filled with people injured. One person had his arm shattered in different places, another had a broken skulls. As soon as we came out of the houses they continued to use the tear gas and batons. We ran, but it was no use. A young girl and young man were killed in front of us. Know that it was the disciplinary forces that fired the bullets and were attacking people with the batons and tear gas. The plainclothes officers did not have batons, they had planks of wood to beat us to death. The Ansar (special forces) were also there, they took a young guy right in front of us. The police were attacking people; once they targeted someone they would catch them and hit them to death. There were a lot of people lost/disappeared. The mobile phones were cut off in many areas. Our only hope was people's houses who had opened their doors to us. They had water and fire to counteract the tear gas and they all had first aid kits. After a lot of running away and chasing, we tried to get out of being encircled by police. The only option seemed like suicide — we had to cross them, passing through hundreds of officers. They did not think that any protesters would come toward them, so they didn't think we were part of the demonstration. There was a lot going on during the rest of our journey, but all the roads heading toward Vali Asr were filled with cars honking their horns in protest. The police hitting the cars as well, using batons on… We were in the red zone and it was nothing less than war. Pray for us."

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