Thousands of Iranian opposition supporters marched through the streets
of the capital Friday, ignoring government warnings not to turning the
country's annual anti-Israel rallies into a day of anti-government
opposition supporters defied a heavy security presence and a warning
from authorities not to turn Friday's annual al-Quds day into a day of
Some clashes were reported as anti-government
protesters chanted "death to the dictator" and threw stones at security
forces. The protests, which challenge the credibility of Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed June re-election, took place
as tens of thousands of pro-government marchers turned out for rallies
and speeches to support Palestinians and condemn Israel.
of the Center for Arab & Iranian Studies Ali Nourizadeh says the
anti-government protests show that Mr. Ahmadinejad's credibility is
still challenged despite two months of virtually no opposition rallies.
the turnout today was amazing and that shows that the Green Movement
and the opposition movement is not something that you can just cross
over as they try to say that it's finished," he said. "'We are in
control and Mr. Ahmadinejad is our beloved president and nothing is
going to happen.' No. The people showed today that as soon as they see
an opportunity they will grab it."
At one of the opposition
rallies, a group of hard-liners attacked reformist former president
Mohammad Khatami. According to a report on a reformist Web site Khatami
was pushed to the ground.
Also Iranian official IRNA news agency
reported that former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was
forced to abandon his plans to take part in the rally after an angry
crowd of hardliners attacked his car.
Nourizadeh says this use of force is characteristic of the Ahmadinejad administration.
used tear gas and clubs and they've beaten the people," he said. "But
the protesters and the reformist, they were so civilized and they came
ready to deal with the amount of cruelty that they may use against
But despite opposition protests, al-Quds day rallies drew large crowds.
Many of the marchers chanted "Death to Israel" as they marched the streets of Tehran.
his address to the country Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has
again called the Holocaust a lie by western nations designed to create
a pretext for the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.
The Iranian president called the Holocaust a myth and an unproveable lie designed to promote support for Israel.
annual al-Quds or Jerusalem Day rallies take place on the last Friday
of the holy month of Ramadan. The commemoration was established in
1979 by the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.