AFP - Angry supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi pelted baton-wielding police and set rubbish bins on fire on Saturday in protest at the vote results.
A furious mob shouting "Down with the dictator!" threw stones at the police who hit back with sticks to try to disperse demonstrators gathered around central Tehran's Vanak Square, an AFP correspondent said.
Protestors, including women, were also hit with sticks in Tehran's Valiasr Street as riot police on motorbikes moved in to break up a gathering outside Mousavi's office, the correspondent said.
"They have ruined the country and they want to ruin it more over the next four years," shouted an irate mob outside Mousavi's office.
Results so far have given overwhelming victory to hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the more moderate Mousavi, whose bid for the presidency had gathered momentum in the final weeks before Friday's election.
"I fear they played with people's vote," one woman said, after Mousavi complained of irregularities in the most hotly contested vote in the history of the Islamic republic.
"We are going to stay here. We are going to die here," demonstrators shouted as one woman was struck on her back by policeman's baton while others were kicked, the correspondent said.
According to latest results, Ahmadinejad won 63 percent of the vote across most of the country, almost double the 34 percent reported for Mousavi with a record turnout reported among the country's 46 million voters.
Mousavi himself said he was protesting at blatant irregularities and warned of the "dangerous scenario" created by the vote.
"The time of dancing and shouting is over. They are going to break your leg if you stand here," a senior policeman was heard telling one man.
Another man lying on a sidewalk, wearing a green shirt in the signature colour of Mousavi's campaign, told AFP that a policeman beat him even as he just stood quietly at the side of the road.
"I was just standing here and they hit me on the back. I was just watching."
In Vanak Sqaure the crowd continued to shout "Allahu Akbar!" or God is Greatest as police hit them with sticks to thwart any attempt at mass gathering.
With tensions running high after the vote, Iran’s deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said any kind of gathering by supporters of any candidate was "illegal".
"If they want to gather, they have to take prior permission and we can give them protection."
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards -- seen as backing Ahmadinejad -- had warned that it would crack down on any "velvet revolution", referring to Mousavi’s boisterous "green" campaign of mass carnival-like demonstrations.
Near Mousavi’s office, two workers were busy painting a wall which had "Down with the dwarf! Down with the dictator!" daubed on it.
Several Mousavi supporters voiced utter disbelief at his loss.
"I can not figure out what happened," said one young woman who declined to reveal her name.
"If they have to cheat, they do it. We can’t do anything about it," she said referring to government authorities.
But Ahmadinejad’s supporters were jubilant as they drove through the streets of Tehran early Saturday.
"Where are the greens? -- in a mousehole," they mocked, referring to Mousavi's campaign colours.
"I am happy that my candidate has won -- he helps the poor and he catches the thieves," said sandwich seller Kamra Mohammadi, 22.