As the masses of Iran poured into the streets to protest the dictatorship on Revolution Day, February 11, as many as 500 protesters joined a solidarity protest outside the Iranian embassy in Stockholm to remind this terror centre’s staff of the crimes their regime commit daily. It was time to expel the ambassadors, the illegitimate representatives of the Iranian people.
Comrades from REVOLUTION’s Stockholm branch were joined in the protest by members of Arbetarmakt, Swedish section of the League for the Fifth International, CWI, as well as Iranian left groups such as Young Communists and the Worker-Communist Party of Iran.
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The police were determined to keep the regime critics as far away from the embassy as possible. We were given a spot a couple of hundred metres from the main entrance of the embassy. Maybe the police were afraid that this summer’s events were to be repeated; at that time, freedom fighters managed to enter the embassy area after pushing through police lines.
Attempts of getting close to the embassy
Following speeches from a comrade from Arbetarmakt and others, the protesters decided to attempt to break through the police blockades. In a coordinated move, a large vanguard, mostly Iranian men and women of different ages, lead the charge. People quickly rushed to support them and join the front lines.
At first, the police were shocked. It’s not an everyday occurrence for ordinary people of mixed ages to defy law enforcement like this. But the police came prepared. They cemented their defence by lining up police trucks on the narrow road, as well as generous use of baton charges and pepper spray. We were never really able to break through the lines, even though we almost did initially.
The breakthrough attempts continued for another two hours. Frontier fighters stepping back after being pepper sprayed were quickly replaced by others. In the back, an emergency care table with eye-drops, napkins and other gear was set up, and many protesters were able to rejoin the front after a quick recovery there. An overwhelming majority of the protesters joined the attempts to break through, while others supported the efforts with medical treatment, coffee and food. The crowd was constantly chanting slogans against the terrorists dwelling in the embassy, and against the police who protected them. The atmosphere was radical, and the fighting spirit enormous.
Extensive police violence
The police used much more violence than was called for by the situation. At least a couple of protesters were so badly beaten that they had to be hospitalised. One of them, Parisa, got her arm smashed as she was lying on the ground, defenceless. Another Iranian man had his arm broken. Many of the protesters were bleeding, but were looked after by other activists. Here, the Swedish police acted similar to the Iranian police in their despicable assault on brave freedom fighters.
REVOLUTION member arrested – expecting trial
Some were arrested. One of them was Aron Nåsander, a member of REVOLUTION. Before being arrested, Aron was hit by five baton blows, two of them to the head, as he was close to the front lines. The blows caused a concussion. As he spent the night in jail, Aron was in great pain and vomited.
A policeman now claims to have been hit in the head by an icy snowball that he says Aron threw. Aron denies this, and no other proof but the police’s own testimony has been introduced to him. Interrogation officers tried forcing Aron to confess to inciting the riot and to have lead the charge against police lines. Based on lies and preposterous accusations, it’s all too obvious that the upcoming trial is an attempt to move the spotlight away from the police’s violence. We demand that the charges are dropped and that the police’s actions are scrutinised by an independent inquiry. REVOLUTION Sweden has published a call and sent out a press release to this effect. To support the call to drop the charges, email us at info [at] revolution.se.
Protests continue at the embassy dinner
The protests continued later that day. Bourgeois groups held a protest against the regime’s violence in central Stockholm (with a majority of monarchists, that is, supporters of the old shah, and a liberal politician speaking) our comrades decided to take off to the suburb of Jakobsberg, where the Iranian embassy organised a dinner in a local mosque.
The police did everything in their power to stop those of us who made it there from protesting, but after several detours through knee-high snow we made it to a group of 200 gathered by to the mosque entrance. This protest was dominated by the Worker-Communist Party of Iran.
We were standing 50 metres from the embassy’s security staff, separated by lines of police, yet again turned towards us. The police stopped us from charging the mosque and teach the ambassadors a lesson, but they couldn’t stop us from loudly booing the dinner guests and mock them with chants and slogan as they entered and exited the building.
The protests continued until the dinner party was over. We set off homewards, our throats sore but our fighting spirit unbroken. Even though we didn’t reach our goals for the day, we reminded the representatives of the Iranian butcher regime of their crimes, and of our commitment to continue fighting, side by side with our comrades in Iran, until their regime is smashed, once and for all!