Iran opposition clashes with police

Mon Dec 7, 2009 4:33pm EST
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By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian security forces fired warning shots in Tehran on Monday and beat opposition protesters among thousands seeking to renew their challenge to the government six months after a disputed election, witnesses said.

The security forces fired shots into the air as they clashed with supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi at a state rally marking the killing of three students under the former Shah, the reformist website Mowjcamp said.

"Security forces are beating demonstrators, men and women. Some of them are injured and bleeding," said one witness in Tehran's central Haft-e Tir square.

The June 12 presidential election, which secured President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, sparked Iran's worst unrest since the Islamic revolution three decades ago and exposed deep divisions in the establishment. Authorities deny allegations of vote-rigging.

Journalists working for foreign media were told by officials not to leave their offices to cover stories from Monday until Wednesday, but witnesses told Reuters hundreds of riot police battled protesters in various Tehran squares to disperse them.

"Some people who took part in illegal gatherings on Monday have been arrested by police," said Tehran general prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the semi-official Fars new agency reported. "They are being interrogated."

He did not specify how many people had been arrested.

Witnesses said some of the Tehran protesters chanted "death to the dictator".   Continued...