As the world watches the violence and post-election protests escalate in Iran, startling images from the streets of Tehran are disseminating through various social media. Many of them are tagged #iranelection, a hashtag which started on Twitter but is spreading to Flickr and elsewhere.
Since it is difficult to find photos in the sea of Tweets using the same #iranelection tag I’ve been using Twicsy, an image search engine for photos posted to Twitter which we wrote about yesterday. If you search “iranelection” or “tehran iran”, dozens of images from the protests will pop up.
Fair warning: these images are raw and unfiltered, and some of them are quite gruesome, showing people getting shot and lying in pools of blood. The most tragic one shows what is described as a woman protester bleeding to death after being shot today. This same incident was caught on someone’s video or cell phone video camera and uploaded to YouTube. (I hesitate to link to this because it is so hard to watch, but you can find it by searching for “An innocent girl was shot by Iran riot police” on YouTube).
Update: The woman is being called “Neda” and her image is becoming a symbol of Iran’s brutality against its own people. Her name is already a trending topic on Twitter. There are now at least two separate videos of her death on YouTube. Since they are spreading around on their own accord and other news organizations are linking to them, I will add them here. Again, these are highly graphic and disturbing, so consider that before you click (video uploaded June 20, video uploaded June 21).
There’s been plenty of debate about how big a role Twitter is playing in events in Iran. At the very least, it is being used as a channel to distribute information and images to the rest of the world. It is not always clear where these images come from or who took them. Some of the images are credited to professional news agencies such as the AP, Getty, Reuters, and Arabic news organizations and are being spread around by bloggers both inside and outside Iran. Others look like they were taken in haste or on a cell phone. (For other images from Iran taken by citizen photojournalists, check out Demotix/iranelection).
Below are a few images circulating on Twitter. The first one was uploaded on June 14, 2009 and has no attribution (if anyone knows the photographer, please tell me in comments). Update: The photo is by Olivier Laban-Mattei/Agence France Press/Getty Images:
Beyond Twitter, you can find a slide show of Iran protest images on the New York Times. And on Flickr, Faramarz Hashemi has collected the set of #iranelection photos embedded below (some of them overlap with the ones on Twitter).