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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Translation of Aroosak Kooki's witness testimony of Iranian Women's Demonstration

The police tell the pedestrians:" These dirty women want to remove their veils. They are all whores, none of them have husbands. They want to propagate corruption and vulgarity" and with this he continues to beat a middle-aged woman.

I am translating an eye witness account of the March 8th Demonstration in Tehran:


The Mellat Station is Obstructed
Since the early hours of he morning the streets that connect to the Parliament are under the tightest security. The metro stations of Baharestan and Mellat are closed and a number of teachers have been taken into custody the night before.

1:30 pm
I get in front of the Parliament, amidst a ring of remaining teachers from the two thousand educators demonstration that morning. They say that the disciplinary forces broke the leg of one of the women teachers and yet the demonstrators were not willing to leave the northern gate area of the parliament. The treatment of the disciplinary agents to the teachers, which are 90% women, was very insulting and disrespectful. Their seargent warns the teachers in a vulgar tone:" At 2 o'clock a group of feminisists who don't believe in the rights of teachers, but believe in giving all rights to women, want to come here and gather. Go before you get arrested along with them."

On the other hand the seargent warns me and some of the others in our group, that since we are not teachers that we should leave. Our group still had not increased in number yet, we say that we have come to make appointments with parliament members. He says that appointments are given in front of the eastern gate, he also adds that he knows why we have come here! We have no choice, we start moving towards the eastern gate while the number of disciplinary forces increases at the northern gate. They send a large number of agents inside the parliament as well, which I am not sure why.

2:00 pm
Slowly the number of the crowd increased and further up the Baharestan metro station a gathering has assembled since, the route to the northern gate of parliament is completely blocked. A number of the women teachers join us. We get ready to take out our signs when the disciplinary forces attack us.

We aren't a few number by any means, 500 to 700 people. Considering the recent arrests it is a very good turnout. However the issue is that the number of security, information and disciplinary forces is much more.

The plain clothes forces are everywhere. They are either taking pictures or are reporting identifications with walkie-talkies. The disciplianary forces are savagely beating the people as usual. They shove a few people in the street gutters. They arrest a few others and they confiscate cameras.

The forces do not grant permission to the people coming from the metro station to enter the street and they shove the people back into the station. I get my fair share, I am shoved into the station and instructed to get lost. I object saying that i just got out of the metro and am going my own way. He tells me "get lost before I take your purse and smack you on the head with it!"

I see Shahla Entesari in the crowd. She is standing on a platform, tired and broken. Her complexion is darker and with a stiffled voice she is pleading to the disciplinary forces to not be confrontational and to not hit anyone. They forces increase their kickings and beatings with their batons.

I run towards Shahla and yell her name. Someone kicks my back and curses. To reach to Shahla I am willing to take a beating and I continue a route against the crowd's movement. Before I can get to her an agent takes her away and I lose her.

2:45 pm
The disciplinary forces follow the crowd to Baharestan square, which is now more than 1000 people, with batons, kicks and curses. A group take refuge from the violence of the police in a "passage". The "Passage" does not have any routes, the "pasage" refugees are arrested with violence. White vans are waiting by the side of the streets, they fill up with detainess and leave, to where, it is unknown.

The crowd is disperesed. A group above the square, a group underneath the statue and a group below the square. News arrives that there is a group standing in front of the parliament as well. I see Khashayar Dihemi, Babak Ahmadi, Abodllah Momeni, Firhoozeh Mohajer, Minoo Mortazi Langroodi and Fatemeh Govarai. Minoo and Fatemeh had just got released from jail last night, I hug them and kiss them. The police have really beaten them. Minoo Mortazi can't walk right, she constantly calls my name" take the kids, take my sons, take my daughters."

I walk with Firoozeh to see how many people and who has been arrested. We go next to one of the vans that had a few people with the excuse that we want to buy bus tickets. We crane our necks inside the van. We don't recognize any of them. They have brought the women police again with a new yellow-clad force.

They have the intention of creating fear and terror. The confrontations and dispersions continue. They beat and they arrest, the vans fill up and leave. The police tell the pedestrians" These dirty women want to remove their veils. They are all whores, none of them have husbands. They want to propagate corruption and vulgarity" and with this he continues to beat a middle-aged woman.

3:30 pm
Suspicious motorcyclists, suspicious people. We have circled the square so many times we turned into signs ourselves. I want to go back to the Baharestan Metro station, Firoozeh won't let me. I tell her believe me I will go home. She doesn't let me. She forces me to get in a car. The crowd has dispersed, but an atmosphere of restlessness is still in the air. The people are bustling. Something is in the air with the likeness of an event.


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