Tags: Iran | mothers | protest | demonstration

Iran Arrests Mothers Before Student Rally

Monday, 07 December 2009 09:20 AM

TEHRAN - Iran tightened security ahead of a planned opposition rally on Monday and arrested more than 20 mothers who were mourning children killed in the unrest that has broken out since the disputed June 12 elections.

The mothers had taken part in an antigovernment protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran every Saturday since the death in June of Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, whose shooting became a symbol of the government’s violent repression. The rally had been attacked by the police before, but Saturday was the first time the mothers were arrested.

An opposition Web site reported that the protest was broken up by the police and that many demonstrators were taken away. The BBC Persian service quoted a witness who said 29 women were arrested, some of whom were later released. But at least 21 remained in jail, the BBC said.

The arrests appeared to be part of the government’s efforts to suppress a large rally planned for National Student Day, which is Monday.

Iranian police clashed with supporters of the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi on Monday and fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators at Vali Asr Square, a witness told Reuters. Earlier, another witness quoted by Reuters said police officers used batons to beat protesters at a separate demonstration.

Students had planned to hold demonstrations Monday on university campuses, which security forces are banned from entering, but Reuters reported that police officers surrounded Tehran University to prevent members of the opposition from demonstrating.

The authorities have ordered foreign news outlets not to cover the event, and Internet service was reduced to a trickle on Saturday, so slow that it was impossible to “open e-mails or any Web pages,” a journalist in Tehran said.

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Monday, 07 December 2009 09:20 AM
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