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June 17, 2009

Why Killing Protesters in Iran is a Bad Idea
Posted by Patrick Barry

Reuters is reporting that Mir Hossein Mousavi has called for "peaceful protests or gatherings in Mosques on Thursday to mourn those killed" in the fallout from the disputed elections.  From Mousavi:

"A number of our countrymen were wounded or martyred,"

"I ask the people to express their solidarity with the families ... by coming together in mosques or taking part in peaceful demonstrations"

In a society that expresses deep veneration for martyrs, this move carries potentially huge political implications.  Watch for these gatherings to evolve into much larger-scale demonstrations, of the kind we've seen so far in Tehran, Isfahan, and elsewhere.  Juan Cole had some smart speculation on this subject a few days ago:

The problem with shooting protesters in Iran is that there will be a funeral, which will be another occasion for protest; and then a memorial service (more protest) and then a 40-day memorial (more protest). If more protesters are shot at these commemorations of the fallen, there will be memorials and protests around them, too. This thing could grow.

Update: It's already happening - Go to Nico's always excellent coverage to see this dynamic in effect.


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