An Iranian student at the epicenter of anti-government demonstrations says she witnessed the country’s Revolutionary Guard savagely beating street protesters, knew a Tehran University student who was killed – and “we are not allowing his blood to go to waste.”
Speaking by telephone from Iran Tuesday, the student, who helped organize the protests that enveloped her country, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper demonstrators “didn’t know what was coming.”
“We didn't want to see any violence, so none of us said anything against the authority or the government. They did not let us proceed, we had to kind of fight to make our way, but at some point, we couldn’t,” the protester, identified only as “Sarah,” said. “As we moved forward, the guards started to kind of hold us back. I mean, there was too much violence, so we couldn’t proceed.”
Cooper said there have been reports of police using tear gas, using batons to beat demonstrators, and making arrests.
“Oh, yes, that's routine. That's the least we expected,” Sarah said. “I was with someone who got beaten. Unfortunately, one of our friends from the University of Art, Sanee Zhaleh, was killed yesterday. And we are – I mean, we have entered a phase of serious street mourning.”
Cooper – noting that Sarah was “being very brave to even talk to us right now” and that the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims foreigners instigated the demonstrations – asked what she wanted people around the world to know about what is happening in Iran.
“I can't speak for others. I mean, I can speak for myself. I can say that I'm just an ordinary person. And I'm fighting for my rights,” she said. “One of our friends was killed. He was like 26. And that could be me. I mean, he was shot randomly. And I was planning to go to that … square where he was shot.
“There's a Persian expression – I'm translating to you, because I don't know the equivalent – but we are not allowing his blood to go to waste.”
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