BBC: Iran police ‘clash’ with opposition protesters, use tear gas

Dec 7, 20090 comments

Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
Demonstrators in Tehran, 4 November 2009

Opposition supporters have broken off from past rallies to stage protests

Iranian police have clashed with opposition supporters in central Tehran, witnesses say. Police used batons and tear gas, according to the witnesses. The reports could not immediately be verified because of a foreign media ban. The reported clashes came as Iranians prepared to hold an annual rally to mark the killing of students in 1953. Earlier, hundreds of Iranian police were reported to have surrounded Tehran University to try to block protests. Iranian security forces, including the elite Revolutionary Guards, had warned that they would step in to prevent any attempt to use the event to stage opposition protests. Iran has cracked down hard on protests by opposition supporters following a disputed election in June.

After the election the chants were only about people getting their votes back, but now it is more about the system and leaders themselves

Opponents of the Iranian government have taken to using officially sanctioned demonstrations to turn out in big numbers and publicise their message. On Sunday former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has become a leader for opponents to the regime, questioned whether the ban would succeed in preventing such demonstrations. The annual Students Day event commemorates the death of students during an anti-American protest in 1953. Before the rally, Tehran residents said that they had been unable to use e-mail and that opposition websites were being more tightly restricted than before. Thousands have been arrested and dozens killed this year after the disputed election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to the largest street protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Source: