This post was written by Chantal Flores, a Nation intern and freelance writer living in New York City.
A week after the contested June 2009 presidential election, the image of blood covering the face of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan dead in a street in Tehran became the symbol of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom. What seemed at first an isolated demonstration against a rigged election, eventually turned into the largest uprising against the Islamic Republic since its inception in 1979.
The uprising though was brutally suppressed sending a clear message that the regime was not going to tolerate significant signs of civil unrest. Imprisonment, violence and even killings of protesters have reportedly become common practice since the uprising was quashed. Just today, there are reports of a recent wave of new arrests of female student activists.
In the face of this intimidation, brave Iranians have continued to take to the streets on national and religious holidays in repeated challenges to government rule. Most recently, people gathered in large numbers on Ashura, a Shiia holy day of mourning, at the end of 2009 and were broken up by secret police who injured scores of people and killed ten protesters.
On February 11, the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, organizers in Iran are planning to renew their challenge to the regime. Global networks of activists are furiously organizing events around the world to support the Iranian freedom struggle. United for Iran, a project of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, is the best place to find relevant events and campaigns, and Persian2English, a blog which translates Iranian human rights news into English, will be bringing live reports from Iranian citizen journalists on February 11.