Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thousands Rally in Tehran

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Iran Focus

Thousands of Iranians on Wednesday rallied in central Tehran chanting anti-government slogans and clashing with state security forces and anti-riot troops. Large crowds formed at Haft-e Tir Square. Authorities closed down Haft-e Tir metro station. There were chants of "Allah-o akbar", or God is greatest, and "Death to the dictator". Authorities moved to quell the unrest, using tear gas and opening fire on some protestors. Several protestors were injured from shots fired by security forces. Police also used batons to beat protestors. A number of protestors were also arrested. Security forces are filming protestors. Angry people set rubbish bins on fire to combat the teargas. There were protests in other parts of Tehran and several other cities. Students at the University of Tehran clashed with security forces that tried to prevent them from taking to the streets.

They broke the university gate and moved to join larger rallies in central Tehran. There were chants of "Death to the dictator". A student has told Iran Focus that similar skirmishes took place at Sharif University where slogans were chanted against the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In recent weeks, there were calls among young people and some student groups for a nationwide protests on November 4. In previous years, the regime held anti-Western protests on 4 November which marks the 1979 US embassy takeover. This year, there had been calls by opponents of the regime to turn the day against the clerical establishment.