Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Uprising blazes throughout Iran capital

Tehran was left in a standstill this evening as the population poured into the streets to mark the national 'fire' festival of Chahar-shanbeh Souri despite intense pressures by the Iranian regime to prevent a possible uprising. Eye-witnesses reported that full-size puppets of high-ranking officials, such as the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the regime's president Mohammad Khatami, were set on fire by youths at numerous locations throughout the Iranian capital. Trucks belonging to Iran's security forces were also set ablaze.

Despite a general ban on the festival by the regime and repeated demands by the Iranian authorities that people avoid leaving their houses on the day, the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) issued a call for the nation to take part in the event and call for the overthrow of the clerical regime. Thousands of people gathered in Vali-Asr Square in the city of Tabriz to celebrate the fire festival. Young people set off smoke bombs and sonic booms. Clashes were reported at Abressan Junction, where a huge crowd assembled.


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