Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iran Uses Force Against Protests As Region Erupts

Hundreds of riot police officers in Iran beat protesters and fired tear gas Monday to contain the most significant street protests since the end of the 2009 uprising there, as security forces around the region moved — sometimes brutally — to prevent new unrest in sympathy with the opposition victory in Egypt.

In Tehran, a spokesman for Mir Hussein Moussavi, a leading opponent of the government, said the protests had shown that the so-called Green Movement, formed to challenge the disputed election in 2009, had scored a “great victory“ and was “alive and well“ despite a huge government crackdown.

But, breaking an official silence on the demonstrations, the Fars news agency, a semiofficial service linked to the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the demonstrations had been conducted by “hypocrites, monarchists, hooligans and seditionists“ whose leaders were puppets of Britain and the United States. It ridiculed them for not chanting slogans about Egypt, the nominal reason for the protests, and said an unspecified number of people had been arrested.

Iranian human rights activists and police said on person was killed and several injured in protests that continued until close to midnight. The authorities had refused to issue a permit for the demonstration but Amir Arjomand, the spokesman for Mr. Moussavi said: “If the government had issued a permit and guaranteed the safety of the people there would certainly have been millions of people out in Tehran and other cities.“............................

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