Iran govt’s supporters take to streets, opposition warned
Meanwhile, opposition website Rahesabz reported that the authorities had ordered the family of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to hold a quiet funeral for his nephew who was killed during Sunday’s protests.
With tens of thousands due to take part in the state-organised demonstrations, supporters of Mousavi are also planning to hold fresh rallies, opposition websites reported.
In Iran’s bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, eight people were killed on Sunday and about 20 pro-reform figures, including three senior advisers to Mousavi were arrested.
Raising the stakes further in the crisis, a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that opposition leaders were “enemies of God” who should be executed under the country’s Sharia law.
Opposition websites reported that some state-owned factories have allocated transport for employees to be taken to the rallies, while traditional bazzars have closed for the day in some cities.
State television showed live footage yesterday of gatherings in different cities excluding Tehran.
Hardliners have reacted angrily after thousands of opposition supporters used the climax on Sunday of Ashura, one of Shiite Islam’s holiest days, to take to the streets, condemning the protests as “desecration.”
“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.
But the opposition have hit out at the authorities for resorting to the use of teargas, batons and eventually live rounds to push back the protestors in violence that turned deadly.
Authorities confirmed eight people died during Sunday’s protests but have rejected opposition charges that they were killed by security forces, insisting the deaths were “suspicious.”