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Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

Category: Weblogs

IRAN: More video footage from scenes of protests surface

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More video of today's events in Tehran is emerging on the Internet as clashes between opposition supporters and security forces appear to have turned increasingly violent. Unconfirmed reports from opposition websites citing eyewitness accounts claim four people have been killed in the protests. Several injuries also have been reported.

"Three of our compatriots were martyred and two were injured in clashes. The reporter who was on the scene said these three were directly shot at by military forces,” said a report carried by the Iranian opposition website Rahesabz.net.

Pictures uploaded by users on Twitter show an unidentified man lying in the street in a pool of blood.

But despite the attempted crackdown on demonstrators by security forces, they appear to remain defiant.  In the video below, large groups of protesters are seen chanting, "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein," in reference to Iran's reformist leader as motorbikes believed to belong to the pro-government Basiji militia are seen burning in the street.

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IRAN: Video footage of Tehran protests surfaces [Updated]

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Video posted to the Internet shows protests in Tehran between students and riot-gear-clad security forces armed with tear gas as Iran marks its National Student Day. 

People posting to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook described a heavy buildup of security forces in the streets of Tehran in the early morning hours, and students said pro-government Basiji militiamen had entered university campuses to prevent protests from breaking out.

Video posted to YouTube depicted hundreds of students at Tehran University chanting anti-government slogans, and reports on Twitter said students had gathered at one of the university's main gates, surrounded by police and Basiji militamen.

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TUNISIA: Online activists rally to free fellow blogger Fatma Riahi [Updated]

Lina Ben Mhenni was one of the last people to see Fatma Riahi the day she was arrested. The two women bloggers had been in touch online and by phone, but it wasn't until Ben Mhenni saw that Riahi's Facebook profile and blog had been shut down that they made urgent plans to meet for coffee on last Sunday. Riahi, a high school drama teacher in the small seaside city of Monastir, had been ordered to report to the Criminal Brigade in the capital, Tunis, where Ben Mhenni lives.

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"From one cup of coffee, we spent the whole day together," Ben Mhenni wrote of Riahi in a series of e-mails to the Times. "In fact, I discovered an exceptional person -- funny, full of life, [an] artist [...] We talked about music, we laughed watching Tunisian television, we talked about blogs and bloggers."

They also talked about the Criminal Brigade, the investigative security force Riahi would have to answer to, and Ben Mhenni's boyfriend, Muhammad Soudani, who was arrested on Oct. 22 after giving an interview to a foreign radio station and has not been seen since.

[Updated, Saturday, Nov. 7, at 11:55 p.m. PST: Fatma Riahi was released Saturday morning, according to a statement posted on the Facebook page and blog devoted to her release. 

The statement said Riahi was in good health but was still in danger of being re-arrested.]

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EGYPT: Authorities detain and deport American blogger

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Egyptian authorities briefly detained an American journalist at Cairo International Airport on Thursday before barring him from entering the country, without stating a reason.

Travis Randall had been living in Cairo for the last 2 1/2 years, working as a freelance writer and an environmental consultant. He was stopped by authorities upon his return from the United States and was told that his name was on a list of people banned from entering Egypt.

The 27-year-old Denver native was taken to a cell where he spent 12 hours before being placed on a flight heading to London.

"It's pretty weird to be deported and no one gives you a reason. I'm basically going to stay in London and figure out what happened, figure out if [Egyptian authorities] could tell me why," Randall told reporters in London.

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