Is Iran at the Tipping Point? (VIDEO)
The peaceful protests in Tehran of the past few days have degenerated into violence with at least eight people killed, according to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council — making it the deadliest incident since June.
A video leaked to YouTube graphically shows demonstrators cornering a handful of riot police who were sent to combat them. The following narration is from CNN:
“As the crowd pushes the police against a wall — with screams coming from all directions — a protester points his finger at them. “Why are you doing this?” he yells. One of the police — the only one whose helmet is off, his face apparently bloody — responds. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I’m sorry.” The other police stand still, trapped by the crowd’s grasp.”
In the melee, hundreds of demonstrators were arrested. One of the country’s national security officials called openly for demonstrators to be rounded up and carted off.
According to CNN, videos posted online from Tehran show protesters with their heads covered in blood, in some cases requiring help walking from fellow demonstrators. Witnesses said members of the Basij, the government’s militia, were smashing protesters on the head with their batons.
The most significant essence of the videos is that they depict a growing fearlessness, a fierceness among the demonstrators that this time has people around the world asking whether the revolt will one day spell the end of Iran’s Islamic republic.
CNN‘s Reza Sayah, an Iran native who covers the region, called it an unprecedented uprising, presenting “the most significant challenge” the Islamic republic has faced since its government came to power through a revolution 30 years ago.
Robin Wright, author of the book “Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East,” told CNN on Monday that while Iran’s opposition is fragmented, the various groups have come together. “This is a very important moment in Iranian history, and it is probably time to start asking whether Iran’s uprising could become a Berlin Wall moment,” Wright said in an interview with CNN’s “American Morning.”
She added, “It’s not just an issue of the sporadic protests once or twice a month… It’s also one of the most vibrant and imaginative civil disobedience campaigns anywhere in the world.”