Iran’s regime is forcing students and civil servants to participate in the revolution anniversary parade to show it is more popular than the protest movement.
The state television reported Friday that seventy foreign journalists are visiting the country to report the celebrations of Ten Days of Dawn. “Apparently this year they have issued visas to more foreign journalists to report the end of the protests as well as the freeing of the prisoners, and may be other things that could be announced in the next few days,” Hossein Derakhshan, a journalist and former political prisoner said in a tweet Tuesday.
The ten days starting on the first of February mark the period between the arrival of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the revolution, in Tehran from Paris in 1979 and the victory of the revolution on February 11th.
Street protests have ebbed in the past month, but the Youth of Tehran, an underground protester group, in a recent statement urged the residents of the capital to shout anti-regime slogans every night from their rooftops and windows during the ten-day period including the slogan “We swear on the blood of our fallen ones to endure till the end.
Expatriates are planning their own show of strength through protest rallies on the day of the anniversary in many cities around the world. Iran's exiled crown prince, Reza Pahlavi, has urged all Iranians abroad to participate in the rallies against the Islamic Republic.
Those opposed to the regime often mockingly refer to the Ten Days of Dawn as Ten Days of Torment (zajr) and in the past few days have burned or destroyed many of the banners and other decorations put up in the streets by the state propaganda apparatus.
According to social media reports, education departments in many places have not only issued directives to schools demanding full participation of students, teachers and other staff but also threatened that not attending could negatively affect their chances of getting into higher education or promotion in their jobs.
Mohammad Renani, a professor of theology at Esfahan University and a cleric, said on Twitter a few days ago that his daughter’s class have been promised extra points would be added to their grades if they participated in the parade and that students were even asked to take pictures at the parade as evidence.
Renani called such directives “ethically and politically corrupt” and shared a screenshot of a directive sent by the education department of a small town in West Azarbaijan Province to schools that clearly stated that the attendance of teachers and other employees would be recorded and be the “basis of [future] rating and evaluation.”
Others say protesters who have recently been freed from prison on bail have been forced to give written guarantee that they would take part in the march Saturday.
“Do you think it’s an important occurrence if a total of two million people attend the state-sponsored march out of the eighty-five million population of Iran, by forcing students, civil servants, and mobilizing the armed forces?” London-based journalist Dariush Memar asked other twitterati Wednesday.
“Yes, it is important because the regime is investing in it. What the regime hugely needs now is gaining legitimacy through a massive march to tell the world that those who support it outnumber its opposition. The Islamic Republic needs to rebuild its lost dignity,” one of the respondents to Memar’s question wrote.