Times Online: ‘Four protesters killed’ in fresh Iran clashes

Dec 27, 20090 comments

Iran2_3_350_664458aFour protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces in Tehran as the opposition used a Shia mourning event to stage anti-government protests, it was claimed today. “Three of our compatriots were martyred and two were injured in clashes. The reporter who was on the scene said these three were directly shot at by military forces,” Rahesabz.net, an Iranian opposition website said. The website added that a fourth protester was also killed at a different location in the city centre. “The people are carrying the body of this martyr and are shouting slogans,” it said, citing witnesses. According to the AFP news agency, police had earlier fired tear gas and used batons to beat back the protesters, who had surged in their thousands on to the streets of the capital for the second straight day chanting anti-government slogans. Related Links As riot police battled the demonstration, crowds of pro-government protesters gathered in the middle of the main Enghelab street to voice their support for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, witnesses said. The anti-government protests were staged for a second straight day despite stern warnings by the authorities that they would crush attempts to use the Ashura processions, the most solemn ceremonies for Shia Muslims, for protests. “Security forces beat up protesters taking refuge in houses near Imam Hossein square” on the eastern end of Enghelab street, which runs across the city, a witness said. Another witness told AFP that security force members on motorbikes chased protesters off Enghelab square in the west “but people regrouped in a nearby street and more are coming to join them.” The agency said protesters appeared to be a mix of young and middle-aged people with many women among them. Riot police and plainclothes on motorbikes deployed across Enghelab blocked entries into the thoroughfare and were quick to act in preventing incoming crowds from gathering, witnesses said. The protesters were seen both beating on their chests in traditional Ashura mourning as well as shouting anti-government slogans. Many were chanting “Death to the dictator” and “It is the bloody month and the basiji will fall,” referring to the Islamist militia which plays a key role in suppressing protests. They also chanted “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein” in support of opposition leader and defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Opponents of President Ahmadinejad’s June 12 re-election have increasingly used a series of government-backed public events to mount protests, many of which have ended in clashes with police. The 10-day Ashura ceremonies commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and one of the most revered figures of Shia Islam, who died at the hands of the armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6968798.ece