Iranians find new ways to keep protests alive
Twitter, Youtube, and the force of the movement for change in Iran make it difficult for the government to paint the protesters as tools of foreign powers.
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The head of Iran's judiciary called on Sunday for the prosecution of people working for increasingly influential anti-establishment satellite TV channels and websites, state television reported.Skip to next paragraph
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"The daily growth of anti-regime satellite channels and ... websites needs serious measures to confront this phenomenon," it quoted from document issued by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi to branches of the judiciary. "Those who cooperate with such websites and television channels will face prosecution."
Strikes to come?
Strikes and other efforts to flout the government's authority will prove crucial if the movement is to go forward, says Parsi. On Friday, University of Michigan historian Juan Cole wrote on his blog that the Facebook page of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's principal challenger in the election, appears to be carrying a call for a general strike next week.
"Such a strike would be harder for the regime to forestall than crowds coming into the streets, and whether it has a big effect or not would be a way of measuring the support for the reformists in the country," Professor Cole wrote.
Parsi points out that many Iranians are eager for accommodation, and their anger could be mollified if Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made compromises with their opponents in the coming weeks.
"Some people in Iran are still hoping that Khamenei will recognize the significant mistake he's made and reach out," he says. "But, yes, I do believe that if he stays on this course then the government will eventually collapse. You can rule by force for only so long."
More creative forms of protests advised
Babak Rahimi, an Iran scholar at the University of California in San Diego, says that with space for public protest growing ever tighter, those demanding change will have to be more creative in making their feelings known.
"I think we are seeing a movement emerging that will have to be more underground, more camouflaged, that's better at navigating state repression on the ground," he says. The calls of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) from nighttime rooftops in Tehran – are one method he says, though Basiji have raided homes whose members were doing so.
Mr. Rahimi argues that change, however, may be slow in coming. "The emperor has been exposed – he's naked. But [dissidents] will have to keep on this point in less obvious ways. [Protests] will be more underground – think of Latin American activists opposing their dictators – it will take longer to chip, chip away at the power base of the regime."