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Iran curbs Internet access on eve of student rallies

An Iranian woman surfs online at an Internet cafe in Tehran, Iran. Students use the Internet to mobilize for rallies.

Associated Press

An Iranian woman surfs online at an Internet cafe in Tehran, Iran. Students use the Internet to mobilize for rallies.

TEHRAN, Iran — Government opponents shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "Death to the Dictator" from Tehran's rooftops in pouring rain on the eve of student demonstrations planned for today.

Authorities choked off Internet access and warned journalists working for foreign media to stick to their offices for the next three days.

The measures were aimed at depriving the opposition of its key means of mobilizing masses as Iran's clerical rulers keep a tight lid on dissent.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi threw his support behind the student demonstrations. "A great nation would not stay silent when some confiscate its vote," Mousavi, who claims President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the June 12 election victory from him by fraud, posted on his Web site.

On Saturday, more than 20 mothers who were mourning children killed in this summer's unrest were arrested, the New York Times reported. They had taken part in an antigovernment protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran every Saturday since the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old woman whose shooting became a symbol of the government's violent repression.

Today's demonstrations mark the anniversary of the 1953 killing of three students at an anti-U.S. protest during the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, an American ally. Since the 1990s, it has served as an occasion for protests by those urging Iran's Islamic leadership to allow more social and political freedoms.

Iran curbs Internet access on eve of student rallies 12/06/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 6, 2009 11:44pm]

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