Massive Pro-Government Rallies Protesting Iran Unrest


Almanar

30/12/2009 Tens of thousands of protesters gathered across Iran for a series of state-sponsored rallies designed as a show of strength following days of pro-opposition demonstrations. Wednesday’s demonstrations in Tehran and several other cities, come as Iran’s police chief vowed to “crush” opposition gatherings.

“In dealing with previous [opposition] protests, police showed leniency,” General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, Iran’s police chief, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. “But given that these currents are seeking to topple [the ruling system], there will be no mercy. “We will take severe action. The era of tolerance is over. Anyone attending such rallies will be crushed.”

Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Tehran, said: “The main thing that we all expect is a huge rally in support of the government, especially in support of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”Those who are going to be in the demonstration today are annoyed at the fact that some [opposition] demonstrators on Sunday have insulted the supreme leader and chanted slogans against his position.”

Eight people were killed in Sunday’s anti-government protests which coincided with the marking of Ashoura. Police arrested hundreds of protesters during anti-government rallies and many more opposition aides and supporters in the days that followed. Police chief Maghaddam said that 300 of the 500 “rioters” arrested over the weekend were still in detention and that more were likely to have been detained by other security agencies.

Iran’s government has condemned the opposition protests and has blamed the unrest on foreign interferences including Britain, the US and Israel.

A statement from the government said: “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 knowledgeable people of Islamic Iran will once again put the lackeys of global oppression in their place and will blind the eyes of sedition.”

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

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