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Middle east

One dead, several wounded in anti-government protests

Video by Mairead DUNDAS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-15

Iranian police officials have confirmed that one person was shot dead Tuesday and several wounded after anti-government protests in Tehran turned violent. Authorities blamed the incident on banned opposition group the People's Mujahedeen of Iran.

AFP - Iran police Tuesday confirmed the death of one person in shooting that erupted during anti-government protests in Tehran and said a number of people were wounded, including nine security force members.

Blaming an outlawed group for the shootings on Monday, Ahmad Reza Radan, deputy police chief of Iran, said the gatherings were directed by the United States, Britain and Israel.

"One person was martyred by Monafeghin in the shooting at yesterday's events," Radan was quoted as saying by Fars news agency, referring to the outlawed People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI).

"In the events yesterday, some rioters were arrested and unfortunately Monafeghin elements fired shots at people and security forces. In these shootings nine security force members and some others were injured."

Radan said members of PMOI were "deployed" at what he said were illegal gatherings.

FRANCE 24 OBSERVERS

An Iranian news agency had earlier reported the death of a bystander in Monday's clashes but this had not immediately been confirmed.

The clashes came when thousands of anti-government protesters staged scattered demonstrations in Tehran under the pretext of holding rallies in support of Arab uprisings, witnesses and websites reported.

During the protests, supporters of the opposition movement shouted slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and clashed with riot police, particularly around Tehran's prominent Azadi (Freedom) Square.

Witnesses said police fired tear gas and paintballs to disperse the crowds and that roadside rubbish bins were set on on fire.

Radan laid the blame for the upheavals on members of the PMOI and "American and British mercenaries who set a few trashbins on fire."

He also said that the protests were "directed from America, England and Israel."

"The hands of sedition leaders are drenched in blood and they should answer for these actions," he added, in reference to opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

The two leaders, described by Iranian officials as "seditionists," had sought permission to stage rallies in support of revolts sweeping the Arab world but their request was denied and both were kept under house arrest on Monday.

The anti-government demonstrations held Monday were the first in Tehran since February 11, 2010.

Mousavi, Karroubi and their supporters are steadfastly opposed to Ahmadinejad's government, saying the president's re-election in June 2009 was massively rigged.
 

Date created : 2011-02-15

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