Iran Security Forces Retreat in Face of Sea of Mourners

Police Fail to Break Up Rally at Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery

Iranian police clashed with supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi today when they attempted to hold a memorial service at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetary, firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse a crowd which gathered despite official rejection for their memorial service permit.

Unlike previous clashes, however, the sheer number of mourners who showed up, perhaps tens of thousands, to commemorate the lives lost in the post-election protests, forced the security forces to give way and allow the rally to continue.

Protesters marched in procession chanting “death to the dictator” and “this government is dead,” while others chanted slogans in support of Mousavi, whose disputed loss in June’s presidential election sparked the violent protests which even a month later leave the nation divided.

The Iranian government has sought to calm criticism from the Reformist clergy and angry protesters by releasing large numbers of the people detained in the wake of the election and even announcing the closure of one of the prisons at which detainees were reportedly abused. Still, it seems the division in the nation is going to linger for the foreseeable future.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.