Iran election-anniversary passes quietly

Opposition cancels rallies after preemptive arrests, threats.

mousavi iran elections 248 88 ap (photo credit: )
mousavi iran elections 248 88 ap
(photo credit: )
TEHERAN — The anniversary of Iran's disputed presidential elections passed quietly Saturday with merely a murmur of opposition activity on campuses and a subdued Internet appeal by opposition leaders for supporters to speak out on the Web against repression.
Fearing bloodshed and calculating that it would gain them nothing, the movement's leaders called off a day of mass protests.
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"We have to expand social networks, websites, these are our best means," said Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who maintains he was robbed of the presidency through fraud in the June 12, 2009, election.
The retreat from Iran's streets and university campuses to the Web is certain to be seen as a victory for the ruling hard-liners and for the armed forces that preserved their grip on power with a harsh crackdown on postelection protesters.
The anniversary passed with no large public gatherings or disturbances.
Witnesses reported sporadic but minor clashes at Teheran's Azadi Square between a few dozen protesters and anti-riot police swinging batons.
At Teheran's Sharif University of Technology, students scuffled with hard-liners and plainclothes paramilitary personnel on campus, according to Mousavi's website, "Liar, liar," students chanted in a denunciation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Security forces arrested a political ally of Mousavi, Davoud Roshani, and labor union activist Reza Shahabi, reported.
In some Teheran neighborhoods after nightfall, people went to their rooftops and shouted "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," reprising a cry of protest from last year's unrest.
One year ago, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest alleged fraud, which they said deprived them of a Mousavi presidency that might have brought a measure of political and social change.
Abuses against detained activists – which the government at least partially acknowledged took place – pushed some opposition supporters to go even further and challenge the ruling clerical establishment itself. But trials – some of which have resulted in death sentences – and threats to put down unauthorized demonstrations have left the movement with nowhere to go.