Pro-government Iranians hold rally / PHOTO

Hundreds of thousands supporters of pro-government Iranians took to the streets of major cities on Wednesday in a show of force against the opposition.

Pro-government Iranians hold rally / PHOTO

Hundreds of thousands supporters of pro-government Iranians took to the streets of major cities on Wednesday in a show of force against the opposition.

State television showed footage of people swarming downtown areas including Tehran's Enghelab square, chanting slogans and waving placards in support of the government.



The massive rallies were called for by clerics, seminary schools and the armed forces in response to a string of deadly opposition protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed June re-election.

In Tehran, crowds burned American and British flags.

Television footage of the rallies in various cities showed people chanting "Mousavi is responsible for bloodshed ... We support our Supreme Leader". Some of them carried pictures of Khamenei. Similar rallies took place on Tuesday.



There was no word about any opposition supporters on the streets on Wednesday, despite talk of demonstrations on reformist websites. Foreign media are restricted from moving around to report on such protests which are illegal.

"You should repent ... otherwise the system will confront you as a mohareb (enemy of God)," cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda told reformist leaders at a Tehran rally, state TV reported. Under Iran's Islamic sharia law the sentence for a mohareb is death.

Pro-government demonstrators also chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Britain", state TV reported. Iran has accused foreign powers of formenting unrest in the country.

"Mousavi's nephew buried"

Iran's police chief on Wednesday warned supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi only to expect harsh treatment if they joined illegal anti-government rallies, three days after eight protesters were killed in demonstrations.



"The offensive slogans have made the pious Iranian nation sad and the Zionist world happy, and in practice they as pawns of the enemies have furnished a red carpet for the foreigners who are aiming at the nation's security," the government said in a statement.

"The knowledgeable people of Islamic Iran will once again put the lackeys of global oppression in their place and will blind the eyes of sedition," the statement added.

Iran's police chief said "there was no more room for tolerance over participants in illegal rallies".



"Those who participate in illegal rallies will be confronted more harshly and the judiciary will confront them more decisively," said Esmail Ahmadi-Moqadam, the official IRNA news agency reported. "Some of Sunday's protesters are ... considered as mohareb and will be confronted firmly."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the opposition rallies on the religious ritual of Ashura was a foreign-backed "nauseating masquerade".

"Americans and Zionists are the sole audience of a play they have commissioned and sold out. A nauseating play is performed," he said.

Meanwhile, the semi-official Fars news agency said Mousavi's nephew, who was killed in the bloodshed, was buried on Wednesday at Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.


Agencies


Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2009, 17:35
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