Clashes Continue in Tehran for 2nd Day as Protesters Defy Government
Edward Yeranian | Cairo 27 December 2009
Intense clashes have broken out between government security forces and opposition demonstrators for the second day in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Eyewitness reports and opposition websites say Security forces fired on the crowds in several places, causing casualties and killing four people.
Clashes broke out in dozens of locations across the Iranian capital for a second day, Sunday, with demonstrators setting fire to police motorcycles, trash-cans, and other government property, in an unprecedented show of fervor and fury.
Opposition Web sites and eyewitnesses indicated there were a number of casualties, after security forces fired on demonstrators in Tehran. A reformist website, Parlemannews, says a nephew of Iranian opposition-leader Mirhossein Mousavi was killed in the clashes.
Another opposition website, Rah-e-Sabz, says police in some locations have begun to refuse orders from their commanders to fire on the demonstrators.
Voice of America received several photos of victims who appeared to have been shot, early Sunday. Witnesses say ambulance sirens could be heard in many locations and that police helicopters hovered over the city.
A man named Ehsan told Voice of America by telephone he had been walking the streets of Tehran all day, observing many clashes between demonstrators and police.
He says he is at Khosh intersection with Azadi St. and that there were clashes and (police) fired a lot of teargas. He says he came from Imam Hossein Square to Vali-Asr and observed clashes at every street corner and intersection, with (police) using tear gas and electric batons ... He says security forces ran their patrol cars into the crowd at Vali-Asr Square, injuring a number of people, adding that people are resisting the police and setting fire to their motorcycles and trash bins.
A videoclip sent to Voice of America showed dozens of young women shouting Allahu Akbar, a favorite opposition slogan, at the entrance of Tehran's Shemiran metro station.
Elsewhere, a crowd of hundreds of young men, dressed in black for the Shi'ite mourning celebration of Ashoura could be seen chanting "death to the dictator" on Tehran's Beharestan Street, while several tore down a picture of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A young man who took part in a demonstration in Tehran's Imam Hussein Square said that an extremely large contingent of government security forces were attacking the crowd.
He says that the security forces were out in force and that they were beating anyone that they saw in the vicinity. He says Basij militiamen on motorcycles were beating up people all over the square. He says that the crowd was chanting slogans against Khamenei, and saying he will be overthrown, since this is the month of blood (Moharram).
Tehran's police chief denied officers fired on the crowds.
The semi-official government Fars News Agency reported "the situation in Tehran is quiet," while Iranian TV indicated "people were going about their business and participating in celebrations for Ashoura", to mark the 7th century slaying of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
The official government news agency IRNA said there had been clashes in Tehran, complaining that a cult of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi" was behind chaos in the city and damage to public property.
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