Politics

New demos in Tehran breathe life into opposition

By Branko Brkic 21 September 2009

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Tehran and other Iranian cities Friday, hijacking government’s anti-Israel march and giving new energy to its opposition.  The protests were a public embarrassment to President Ahmadinejad who was trying to demonstrate national unity for the benefit of international opinion, two weeks before he meets Western leaders on nuclear talks. Speaking on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust “a lie” and chastised western criticism of Iran’s election.  His efforts were largely drowned out by street rallies where three main opposition leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, marched with followers, underscoring the continuing vitality of an opposition movement that has rejected the election as fraudulent.   On this day, police seemed to stay neutral, standing on the sidelines as protesters faced off against huge crowds of government supporters – many bused in from outside the main centres.  The protesters, ignoring official warnings not to use the annual pro-Palestinian rally as a pretext for demonstrations, showed up wearing the bright green of the opposition. When government speakers shouted “Death to Israel” through loudspeakers, protesters responded: “Death to Russia”.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Tehran and other Iranian cities Friday, hijacking government’s anti-Israel march and giving new energy to its opposition.  The protests were a public embarrassment to President Ahmadinejad who was trying to demonstrate national unity for the benefit of international opinion, two weeks before he meets Western leaders on nuclear talks.

Speaking on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust “a lie” and chastised western criticism of Iran’s election.  His efforts were largely drowned out by street rallies where three main opposition leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, marched with followers, underscoring the continuing vitality of an opposition movement that has rejected the election as fraudulent.  

On this day, police seemed to stay neutral, standing on the sidelines as protesters faced off against huge crowds of government supporters – many bused in from outside the main centres.  The protesters, ignoring official warnings not to use the annual pro-Palestinian rally as a pretext for demonstrations, showed up wearing the bright green of the opposition.

When government speakers shouted “Death to Israel” through loudspeakers, protesters responded: “Death to Russia”.

Gallery

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine

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