June 16 - 19, 2006

UPDATE (20 June, 2006, 2:56 pm EDT):

Thanks to everybody who participated in this solidarity action, the website of the Iranian Presidency drastically slowed down and came to a halt several times on the 18th and 19th of June. We can be sure they have received the word.

We are ending this action for now with an urgent note:

Although reports indicate that many people who were arrested on June 12 at the site of the demonstration have been released on bail, this does not show an entirely positive development in the situation. The following remain key concerns:

1- So far, the reports issued from human rights organizations - such as Amnesty International and Human Rights First - have relied on information released by the Iranian authorities. The official number of detainees as stated by the spokesperson for Ministry of Justice did NOT include those who were arrested several hours before the demonstration and some who were picked up in the following days. There is no news on the fate of the detainees who were NOT counted in the official figures and have NOT been released. The lack of accurate and independently verifiable information about all of the individuals detained in relation to June 12th demo is a serious cause for alarm.

2- Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoini, one of the people who is still in prison - that we know of - is in grave danger. Reports coming from Farsi language sources (http://r0ozonline.com/01newsstory/016181.shtml) indicate that the authorities are subjecting him and other political prisoners and their families to pressures to submit to forced confessions to crimes against the state and recantation of their political positions. The reenactment of the infamous tactics the Islamic government used in prisons against dissenters at the height of political repression in the 1980s signals a dangerous regression in the country's political climate. Please join the Human Rights First campaign for immediate and unconditional release of Mousavi Khoini at http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/Khoini?rk=fdMOIoK1ZBzME

3- A few of the organizers of the 12 June demonstration who escaped the crackdown - all prominent activists in the Iranian women's movement - have been forced to go underground. There is no confirmed news of their safety.

4- The June 12th detainees who were released have had to put up bail and must attend the Revolutionary Court (dadsaray-e enghelab) again on as yet unclear charges. Given their large number and the limited and already-stretched resources of human rights lawyers and activists in Iran, the adequacy of their legal defense is a matter of concern.

5- Although not directly related to the 12th June events, the continued imprisonment of the prominent Iranian-Canadian scholar Ramin Jahanbegloo in spite of international campaigns for his release is an indication of the ongoing highly dangerous conditions for Iranian dissenters, women and men. (http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/05/05/iran13312.htm)

It is highly important to continue to remain engaged and vigilant. With over one hundred years of recorded history, the indigenous women's movement in Iran has consistently been a strong political force and thus a main target of repressive and coercive politics. (http://www.merip.org/mero/mero061606.html) The current international political climate caused by the US administration's pressures on Iran to abandon the development of nuclear power has created the perfect excuse for the Iranian government to increase its campaign of domestic repression under the banner of national unity and defense of Iranian sovereignty- similar to what happened 25 years ago with the start of the Iraq-Iran war - and divert national and international attention away from Iran's indigenous movement for democratic change. In this process, Iranian women's movement for equal rights once again is becoming the prime target of the Islamic fundamentalist government.

We strongly condemn the neo-colonial wars in the Middle East and the domestic and international aggression by the U.S. administration and its allies, and oppose their interventionist and capitalist expansionist politics that are hidden under the facade of "international security," "liberating the people," and "democratizing the states". It is quite clear from the current situations in Afghanistan and Iraq that their Western-instituted states are perfectly willing to deny and compromise - in their constitutions and in practice - women's demands for social equality and freedom.

While it is necessary to be vigilant against racism and propaganda directed at Islamic and other immigrant communities in the Western countries, we would like to remind the progressive international and feminist communities that the enemy of our enemy is not our friend. It is possible to oppose anti-Islamic racism in the West and simultaneously stand in solidarity with indigenous women's rights and other democratic movements in Islamic countries and diasporic communities. There must be no ethical and political confusion and compromise: Equal rights are women's rights, the world over.

Pending the news from Iran, we may have to call for another solidarity action. The action site will be updated as necessary. Please stay alert and engaged.

We thank Creative Response, OpinionWare and Electronic Disturbance Theatre for their support of this action.

For equality and peace,

Sirens of Solidarity

UPDATE: 19 June, 9 a.m. (EDT) Thanks to everybody who's been participating in the action, we're having an effect. Their server has been down several times over the past two days. If you get messages saying "Alert: The document contains no data" most likely it is because their server is having a hard time keeping up. If it gets annoying, just close the action window and start again. Let's keep the pressure up. For those of you who are curious and interested, here's a very simple tool that allows you to monitor the status of the target server (the main domain is http://www.president.ir/).

Action organized by Sirens of Solidarity in collaboration with OpinionWare and Creative Response, aided by Electronic Disturbance Theatre. Contact: opinionware [at] gmail [dot] com
Please join us in an urgent action in solidarity with Iranian women's movement and in support of the tens of people who were detained on June 12, 2006 in Tehran. Some detainees are apparently scheduled to attend court on Saturday, June 17th. This action is an electronic sit-in on the website of the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Help send a strong message to the President to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees. Background: On June 12, 2006, Iranian law enforcement forces violently attacked and arrested peaceful demonstrators who had gathered in Haft-e Tir Square, Tehran, to demand equal rights for women. In an interview at the Evin Prison 2 days later, the spokesperson for the Islamic Republic (in)Justice Department stated that 70 people - 42 women and 28 men - were arrested and have been transferred to the Evin Prison. Eye-witness accounts, published on several Farsi and English blogs, report the number of detainees to be much higher, including some who were arrested several hours before the demonstration was to take place. A coalition of women's associations, other NGOs and individuals had organized the demonstration - on the anniversary of a peaceful action with similar goals held last year in front of Tehran University - to demand changes to the discriminatory legal code in Iran, specifically:
--> The right to divorce by women
--> Child custody rights for women
--> Abolition of polygamy
--> Equal rights in family law
--> Increasing the minimum legal marriage age for girls to 18 (currently 15)
--> Equal rights for women as witnesses in courts of law
How the sit-in action works: The action page simply keeps reloading multiple pages from the target website. It send queries to the site asking for pages like "democracy", "free speech", "justice", "equality", "barabari", "azadi", etc. (stuff you can't find there), thus creating a traffic load and at the same time sending messages (queries) to their server. The longer you stay in the action page, the larger the number of messages sent to the target website. If the number of people in the electronic sit-in is large enough, the traffic load can drastically slow-down their server and even grind it to a halt. This is a legal form of action that has been used effectively in other campaigns, most notably in support of the Zapatista movement and against many unethical corporations. It is practically impossible for the target site to identify individual computers participating in the sit-in.
enter the action -------- mirror site (what is it?) -------- download 48k zip (what is it?)
english --> reporters without borders | amnesty international | human rights watch, 2 | human rights first | payvand , 2 | women's learning partnership campaign | ::: farsi --> zanestan journal | shargh news