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Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Protests, Violence in Tehran

In spite of all the threats, the overwhelming show of force and the nighttime raids on private homes, protesters still flowed into the streets by the thousands on Sunday to demonstrate in support of Mr. Moussavi.

Mr. Moussavi, who has had little room to act but has refused to fold under government pressure, had earlier received a permit to hold a ceremony at the Ghoba mosque to honor Mohammad Beheshti, one of the founders of the 1979 revolution who died in a bombing on June 28, 1981, that killed dozens of officials. Mr. Moussavi used the anniversary as a pretense to call a demonstration, and by midday the streets outside the elaborately tiled mosque were filled with protesters, their arms jabbing the air, their fingers making a V symbol, for victory.

The demonstrators wore black, to mourn the 17 protesters killed by government-aligned forces, and chanted “Allah Akbar,” or God is great.

“There was a sea of people and the crowed stretched a long way onto the main street on Shariati,” said one witness, who remained anonymous because he feared retribution.

What started as a peaceful demonstration turned into a scene of violence and chaos by late Sunday, witnesses said.

Some described scenes of brutality, telling The Associated Press that some protesters suffered broken bones and alleging that police beat an elderly woman, prompting a screaming match with young demonstrators who then fought back. The reports could not be independently verified because of tight restrictions imposed on journalists in Iran.

The leadership seems to recognize that ending the street demonstrations is far easier that turning the clock back to the days before the election, when there was still some degree of trust in a system that sought to marry religious authority with popularly elected institutions, political analysts said.

link: Iran Escalates Its Fight With Britain; New Clashes Erupt -


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