Bloody Weekend Protests In Tehran: Four Protesters Likely Killed
December 27, 2009
(ChattahBox)—Despite the Iranian government’s ban on foreign journalists from reporting on, or photographing street protests, news of bloody clashes between reform protesters and security forces in Tehran have been reported on the Iranian opposition website Jaras. According to unverified accounts posted on the site, four protesters were killed by security forces on Sunday, possibly including the 20-year-old nephew of opposition leader Mirossein Mousavi. The bloody clashes on Sunday marked a second day of anti-government protests, triggered by the observance of the holy days of Ashura, which commemorate the slaying of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein in Kerbala in 680 AD.
The Jaras website said Iranian police fatally shot three protesters in Tehran on Sunday. The site later reported that a fourth demonstrator was also killed. “Three people were killed and two others were wounded when police opened fire at protesters,” the website said. Tens of thousands of demonstrators appeared on the streets of Tehran and clashes with police also erupted in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Najafabad, Mashhad and Babol, Jaras said.
According to Jaras, some security forces were ignoring orders to shoot on protesters, and instead shot their weapons in the air.
CNN reports that smoke was seen in Tehran, after protesters set a police motorcycle on fire. Witnesses reported that security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators and blocked roads to prevent more demonstrators from entering the Iranian capital. Other witnesses said protesters were beaten with batons. Demonstrators were heard chanting “death to the dictator” and “We will kill those who killed our brothers.”
The Parlemannews website said Ali Mousavi, 20, the nephew of the opposition leader was killed in clashes with police on Sunday and his body had been taken to a hospital, but Tehran officials deny the report.
Government officials also deny that protesters were shot dead by security forces.
Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh said, “So far there have been no reports of killings and no one has been killed up to now,” according to the ISNA news agency. He admitted that some arrests had been made.
The government media have blamed the demonstrations on “hooligans” who were encouraged by foreign governments. The Fars News Agency reported that supporters of opposition leader Mousavi “followed the call of the foreign media” and took to the streets. The report claims the group of “deceived hooligans” damaged public and private property and “disrespected” the holy Shi’ite day of Ashura.
Many of the demonstrators also took to the streets to mourn the death last week, of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, who was a critic of the government.
Source: New York Times
Photo Source: CNN/Getty Images