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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Standing strong

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that "thousands, maybe tens of thousands of mourners, many of them black-clad young women carrying roses, overwhelmed security forces today at Tehran’s largest cemetery.”

Uniformed security forces initially clashed violently today with some of the mourners, supporters and leaders of the opposition, who were there to protest and grieve for those killed in recent unrest. Unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi attempted to attend the graveside ceremony marking the religiously significant 40th day since the death of Agha-Soltan and others killed in the fighting.

"Oh, Hossein! Mir-Hossein," the mourners chanted in support of him.

According to one witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, Mousavi stepped out of his car only to be surrounded by police, who forced him back into his vehicle and out of the cemetery. At first, mourners were confronted by security forces, who struck some with batons and made arrests in an attempt to bar them from gathering at Tehran’s Behesht Zahra cemetery, the country’s largest. The tree-lined streets leading to the graves of Agha-Soltan and others were blocked by riot police, the witness said.

The witness said protesters identified and violently confronted several plainclothes Basiji militiamen. “Police, police, support us,” the crowd chanted. “God is great!” But as people poured out of the nearby subway station and taxis along the highway, security forces retreated. One witness said police released detainees and began cooperating with the mourners, directing them to Section 257 of the cemetery, where Agha-Soltan and others were buried.

Definitely an encouraging sign, if the police have lost their enthusiasm for defending this illegal regime, anything is possible.

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posted at 7:37 AM

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