The Fars News Agency released a report in the early morning of February 20, warning that “armed opposition groups plan to shoot at people in [the] protest rally set for Sunday afternoon.” The agency claims that this group is Mujahideen-e Khalq, which had entered the country for the sole purpose of attacking the protesters…
On February 20, protesters began gathering in the tens of thousands throughout Iran and especially in Tehran. However, extremely large numbers of police and plainclothes Basij militia were stationed throughout the city, even outnumbering the protesters in some of the city squares. Tear gas was fired and there were witness reports of live ammunition being fired into the crowds of demonstrators, essentially dispersing the protesters. The police arrested a number of protesters and were seen stopping people on the streets and frisking them, along with removing people from vehicles.
The protesters were seen occupying government buildings, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting building. Eyewitnesses also reported seeing two men killed by the Basij, one each in the Vanak and Vali Asr squares. They have yet to be identified.
There were also reports of other protester demonstrations going on in other major cities across Iran. However, coverage by journalists was thin, as the Ministry of Information had “sent a letter to foreign media offices in Tehran warning that their bureaus would be shut down and their reporters deported if they wrote “negative articles” surrounding the opposition protests.” At the same time as the protests, the IRNA news agency released television reports saying that things were “completely quiet and normal”. Furthermore, the Fars News Agency had released reports to the public saying that the February 20 protests would be especially violent, because the “opposition plans to shoot people.”
It was later reported by witnesses that demonstrations had taken place in Isfahan and Shiraz, most of which were dispersed after being attacked by police and Basij militia.
A statement released by the “Green Wave” movement in France on February 21 said that Ahmed Maleki, “first secretary and vice consul at Iran’s consulate in Milan”, along with being the nephew to opposition leader Ayatollah Medhi Karroubi, had defected to the side of the opposition movement. As the rest of his immediate family were already residing in France, he has applied for political asylum.