We received a call from an eyewitness in Tehran who told us what he saw at the Friday prayer.
Before the speech began, people where chanting three slogans:
- Death to dictator, Liar, Liar
- Hashemi, Hashemi, take back my vote
Hashemi, Hashemi, we support you
Hashemi, Hashemi, silence will make you a traitor
- Honorable clerics, support (us), support (us)
They were saying the last slogan so loud that several clerics were touched and took green items from the people and raised them in the air.
A very unusual event occurred before Rafsanjani’s speech, when the head of the organization that oversees the Friday prayers (Taqavi) spoke. In Friday prayers, people are supposed to repeat what the speakers chant. Today, it was different. When Taqavi said “Death to America,” people responded “Death to Russia” or “Death to China” instead. Also, when he said “The blood in our veins, is a gift to our leader,” people said “The blood in our veins, is a gift to our nation.” According to our witness, “whenever Taqavi mentioned the name of the Supreme Leader, people would whistle and boo.” Typically, when the Supreme Leader’s name is mentioned people chant “salavat” (a phrase in Arabic meaning “peace be upon Prophet Mohammad).
- Our witness also said that “right before Rafsanjani’s speech, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. People, however, did not move and started to make fires to reduce the effect of the gas.
- “About half of Ahmadinejad supporters got up and left in the middle of Rafsanjani’s speech.”
- “East of Tehran University, it was so crowded that men and women were mixed up. (In Friday prayers, men and women are separated). Ahmadinejad supporters were telling them “you reek of infidelity.”
- “About 2 out of 5 people were holding Ayatollah Montazeri’s picture.
- Our witness, who was hit by a baton on his back, added “I was able to get away after I got hit once, but as I was leaving they were beating people ruthlessly.”