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Protests in Iran run into ninth consecutive night
Reuters ^ | 6/19/03 | Reuters

Posted on 06/19/2003 9:18:12 AM PDT by Persia

TEHRAN (AFP) - Thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to Tehran streets in cars for a ninth straight night of protests, with the focus of protests shifting away from the university campus.

AFP/File Photo

AFP Slideshow: Iran

Protestors converged instead on Tehran Pars, a poor neighboorhood about 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the university, staging a large demonstration that was met by a heavy anti-riot police deployment.

Debris scattered on the sidewalk suggested there had been earlier clashes, and AFP correspondent at the scene said Thursday.

The demonstrations launched last week by Iranian students and reformers -- until recently focused on the university -- have become more low-key since the weekend, with few people venturing out of their vehicles or shouting slogans.

On June 13, Islamist militiamen had used clubs and iron bars to disperse protesters and few ventured outside of their vehicles overnight Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites) broke his silence over the demonstrations, defending the right to rally but condemning violence, whether caused by protesters or hardline Islamist groups.

"If we want democracy, we must accept such protests as natural.

"We recognise the right to protest, which existed in the past and still exists," said Khatami, a mild-mannered cleric much criticised for failing to stand up to his hardline opponents entrenched in the judiciary and legislative vetting bodies.

Also Wednesday, US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) expressed his strongest support yet for anti-regime protestors in Iran, calling them "courageous souls who speak out for freedom" and stressing: "They need to know America stands squarely by their side."

"I would urge the Iranian administration to treat them with the utmost of respect," said the US leader, who has branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea (news - web sites) and Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Iraq (news - web sites).

Tehran Pars, also the scene of recent demonstrations, has seen members of the hardline Basij militia posted throughout the neighbourhood to enforce a return to calm.

On Wednesday, the militiamen patrolled the streets of Tehran Pars, walking among the cars of the protesters in a show of force.

Scores of people have been injured or detained over the past week of anti-government protests, which come amid a worsening political deadlock between reformists loyal to Khatami and powerful Islamist hardliners.

The protests have been marked by slogans targeting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and sparked clashes with hardline vigilantes loyal to him.

But tensions in Tehran have been eased by a police crackdown on the activities of the hardline Islamist Basij and Ansar Hezbollah militias.

At least 170 people were arrested during sporadic clashes between police and demonstrators in several other Iranian cities on Tuesday night, according to Iranian news agencies.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bushdoctrineunfold; iran; southasia; southasialist; studentmovement; warlist

1 posted on 06/19/2003 9:18:12 AM PDT by Persia
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To: Persia
Please ping anyone with ME or Iran pings.
2 posted on 06/19/2003 9:18:35 AM PDT by Persia
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To: Persia
3 posted on 06/19/2003 9:21:37 AM PDT by Mr. K (will work for tag-line)
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To: Persia
They can probably do more good if they get co-ordinated. When the regime is focusing on one area, another area on the other side of town needs to erupt with heavy turnout. When they move their thugs to that area, another area needs to erupt. They can wear them down this way.
4 posted on 06/19/2003 9:23:14 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Ernest, could you use your Iran ping list?
5 posted on 06/19/2003 9:24:58 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: *southasia_list
6 posted on 06/19/2003 9:35:32 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Mr. K
Yeah, I'm pretty sure we are.

Just because we're not advertising everything we're doing, doesn't mean nothing is being done.
7 posted on 06/19/2003 9:38:55 AM PDT by Guillermo (Proud Infidel)
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To: Persia; freedom44; DoctorZIn
Bump and ping!
8 posted on 06/19/2003 10:00:48 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 (I feel naked without a tagline.)
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To: McGavin999; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; *war_list; W.O.T.; DoctorZIn; Eurotwit; freedom44; ...

Bush Doctrine Unfolds :

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Bush Doctrine Unfold , click below:
  click here >>> Bush Doctrine Unfold <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)

9 posted on 06/19/2003 10:12:48 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: Mr. K
It's maybe for the best if they "wear themselves out..." for now.

(Better by far than a Tienanmen Square outcome.)

The activists will get a chance to regroup, refine tactics, accumulate weapons, and be MUCH more ready for the next round in July.

10 posted on 06/19/2003 12:20:25 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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