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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Iran: Violence at Neda's Grave; Mousavi Prevented from Leading Prayers

Iranian riot police beat mourners who staged a defiant gathering at a cemetery on Thursday to commemorate protesters killed in post-election violence last month, witnesses said.

Police used sticks, batons and belts on some of the hundreds of people who turned up at the cemetery south of Tehran where the protesters are buried and also forced opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to leave, witnesses said.

The graveyard became a flashpoint as crowds gathered to mark the 40th day since the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman who came to symbolise the protest movement against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Witnesses said about 150 police and some members of the Islamic Basij militia were in and around Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, with a number surrounding the graveyard where Neda is buried.

Witnesses said Mousavi managed to get out of his car and walk up to Neda's grave.

"Mousavi was however not allowed to recite the Koran verses said on such occasions and he was immediately surrounded by anti-riot police who led him to his car," a witness said as people chanted "Ya Hossein! Mir Hossein!".

link: The Raw Story | Iran police 'beat mourners' at cemetery memorial


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