Iranian police use force to break up protest

Jun 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Iranian police use force to break up protest

After day of relative quiet, hundreds of supporters of Iranian reformist camp not deterred by Revolutionary Guard threats, mourn in Tehran center. Security forces reportedly use tear gas, live bullets to disperse rally. Top politician says reformist Mousavi can be put on trial. Meanwhile, Britain says withdrawing families of embassy staff in Iran due to violence

Dudi Cohen
The protests surrounding recent Iranian elections have been renewed in the heart of Tehran. Despite threats made by the Revolutionary Guard to crush any protest, hundreds of reformist supporters took to the streets in the center of the Iranian capital Monday afternoon in order to mourn recent riot casualties.According to unofficial reports coming from Tehran, security forces clashed with the protestors in Haft-e Tir Square and tried to disperse people arriving to light candles there.

Confrontation between protestors and Revolutionary Guard in Tehran Sunday

Confrontation between protestors and Revolutionary Guard in Tehran Sunday

Eyewitnesses say riot police are attacking hundreds of protesters with tear gas, and firing live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran.

Helicopters hovered overhead as about 200 protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square Monday. Hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration.

Witnesses said police at the scene tried to prevent any gathering, even small groups. At the subway station at Haft-e-Tir, police did not allow anyone to stand still, asking them to keep walking and separating people who were walking together.

Unofficial reports reveal that opposition supporters planned to convene in the square as a sign of mourning for the protestors who lost their lives, forefronted by the young Iranian woman Nada Sultani, who was killed in protests on Saturday and has become a symbol of the opposition’s struggle.

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“I passed by Haft-e Tir Square and saw some thousand people there,” said an eyewitness, who noted that the gathering people there were supporters of defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Head of the Majlis Legal Committee Ali Shaharokhi said Monday that the path has been paved to put Mousavi on trial for ordering the protests.

“Mousavi’s call to protest is illegal and his provocative statements are a source of the recent disturbances in Iran. The groundwork has been laid to put him on trial,” quoted the Fars news agency.

Earlier Monday, the Revolutionary Guard threatened to “crush” any disturbance caused by anyone who, according to them, “poses a threat to the revolution and the regime” in the country. In an announcement published on the Revolutionary Guard website, protestors were told “to prepare for revolutionary confrontations” if they returned to the streets.

In its announcement, the Revolutionary Guard, which was established as a military body to protest the Islamic regime in Iran, also warned the United States, Britain, and Israel against involving themselves in Iran’s internal affairs and encouraging the protestors.

“It is preferable that the aggressive powers take care of their own internal affairs and what is occurring in the countries under their occupation, especially in the Middle East, because the Iranian nation will be able to maintain the achievements of the presidential elections,” the announcement warned.Iranian national radio reported Monday that at least 457 people have been arrested thus far for participating in the Tehran riots.

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office said Monday that the UK is withdrawing the families of embassy staff working in Iran as a result of the violence.

“The ongoing violence has had a significant impact on the families of our staff who have been unable to carry on their lives as normal,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.

“As a result, we are withdrawing dependents of embassy staff until the situation improves.”

Reuters and AP contributed to this report

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