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IRAN: Militiamen crack down on protest during Ahmadinejad inauguration

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Widespread protests may not have materialized in Iran the way the opposition was hoping, but video footage from Tehran today revealed a palpable tension between crowds and pro-government Basiji militiamen, who were out in force.

Second-term President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was unapologetic as he was sworn in, dismissing the demonstrations and violent crackdown that have rocked the country since the June 12 election.

‘It is not important who voted for whom,’ he said. ‘What we need is national greatness.’

Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators marched silently through Tehran’s Baharestan Square, with thousands of security forces and plainclothes Basiji militiamen on motorcycles chasing and arresting them, according to witnesses and accounts in the reformist online media.

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-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Video: A compilation of amateur video said to be taken during today’s unrest.


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