IRAN: Tear gas, clashes and arrests at anti-government protest in Tehran


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Clashes erupted betwen security forces and opposition supporters in the Iranian capital on Tuesday at a rally calling for the release of Iranian opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest, witnesses and media reports said.

According to a Reuters report, the Iranian opposition website Kaleme was saying security forces had fired tear gas at demonstrators at Tuesday’s rally and clashed with them.


A witness told Babylon & Beyond that demonstrators were being chased by security forces in the streets and that dozens of people were detained by security forces and hauled into vans in an area north of Tehran’s Enghelab square. The witness, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, added that dozens of protesters were seen chanting anti-government slogans, comparing some Iranian authority figures with the deposed Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Security forces were out in the streets in the central areas of Tehran, the witness said, and police on motorcycles were patrolling some areas in an attempt to intimidate demonstrators.

SahamNews, another Iranian opposition website, reported that large numbers of security personnel had been deployed at squares and main streets in Tehran on Tuesday to thwart opposition gatherings.

The clashes came a day after opposition websites claimed that the two men and their wives had been moved from house arrest and put in a Tehran prison, which Iranian authorities deny. The semiofficial Iranian Fars News Agency said Mousavi and Karroubi remained under house arrest.

Over the weekend, Mousavi’s and Karroubi’s websites posted calls for fresh protests Tuesday to demand that Iranian authorities release the opposition leaders from house arrest.

The call was issued by the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope -- a group backing Mousavi and Karroubi -- and urged ‘everyone to join a rally from Imam Hossein Square to Azadi Square’ in Tehran ‘on Tuesday March 1 in order to protest the continuation of the illegal house arrest of the Green Movement leaders.’


-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut