Iran - help break the blackout


The brutal crackdown on Iran’s streets is succeeding. Lethal shooting, beatings and mass arrests have driven millions off the streets, and a communications blackout is preventing them from communicating with each other and the world.1

Ruling clerics are in crisis talks -- many are criticising the crackdown and calling for reform.2

We urgently need to help Iranians get back on the internet to have their voices heard in Iran and the world. Secure and anonymous "proxy services" are helping people to bypass regime controls and get online -- but they're overloaded and running out of funds.3 A small donation of just $25 can provide bandwidth for hundreds of secure emails - if we raise $200,000 in the next 72 hours, we can help break the blackout:

Proxy services provide people with a single link at which they can freely access the internet. The link is changed every time the regime blocks access to it. With $200,000, we can scale up the proxy services massively -- providing more servers, bandwidth and advanced technical support.

The next two weeks are crucial. As Iran’s secret policemen cast their net far and wide, secure channels of communication are also critical to avoiding the crackdown. Scores have been killed and hundreds of human rights advocates, journalists, bloggers and peaceful protesters imprisoned. Although many more remain free, without safe ways to communicate they will face terrible risks.

After the crackdowns in Tibet and Burma, Avaaz members donated in our thousands to preserve the people’s basic human right to free communication and information. Overcoming censorship to make contact with each other and the world is crucial at these moments. Sharing information about the protests still flaring up around the provinces of Iran from Kurdish areas to the holy city of Qom, or uploading YouTube videos and first-hand reports of bravery and brutality to Iran’s million-plus weblogs and networks like Twitter, could make a huge difference.4 If the regime believe they can silence such reports, the crackdown will only worsen.

Legitimacy matters in Iran. From inspirational videos of million-strong marches to shocking evidence of militia violence, the truth will come out only if Iranians can communicate freely with each other.5 The clerical councils engaged in closed-door crisis talks are paying great attention to the voices being raised in their society. Let’s make sure Iran’s voices are not silenced – help break the blackout before it’s too late:

With hope and determination,

Paul, Ricken, Milena, Graziela, Paula, Luis, Brett, Iain, Rajeev and the whole Avaaz team Sources:

  1. Updates on the crackdown:
  2. On the debate in the regime, Majlis Speaker Larijani criticises Guardian Council, IRIB, calls for open debate:
    Conservative Tehran mayor Qalibaf calls for legalisation of rallies:§ionid=351020101
    Assembly of Experts considers forcing a run-off election:
  3. Many of our contacts in Iran are reporting that they have been using these services but that they are running out of bandwidth fast. Also see:
  4. See for example:
  5. Regardless of the actual result of the election, the importance of basic rights to assembly and open debate, which could also help shine a light on what occurred, has been emphasised in an open letter of support to the demonstrators. Its signatories include the anti-imperialist writer Noam Chomsky: