President Ahmadinejad had to cut short an interview on state-controlled television because chants of “Ahmadi! Ahmadi! Resign! Resign!” could clearly be heard in the background.
After two quiescent summer months, huge new protests erupted across Iran yesterday, with popular anger at the alleged theft of June’s presidential election inflamed by the subsequent killing, torture, rape and show trials of opponents of the regime.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, 68, the former Prime Minister and de facto opposition leader, had to abandon plans to join the huge anti-government demonstrations in Tehran when hardliners attacked him and his car.
Ayatollah Khatami, 65, a popular former President who supports the opposition, was knocked to the ground, had his robe ripped and lost his cleric’s turban — a black garment signifying that he is a sayyid, or descendant of the Prophet.
In an address to the Friday prayers gathering in Tehran, Mr Ahmadinejad caused international outrage by again dismissing the Holocaust as a myth and claiming that the regime in Israel was collapsing. Yesterday’s turmoil, however, suggested that his regime was the one in trouble.
There had been no major demonstrations since July 17 but the Government could hardly cancel al-Quds Day, an event initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, and the opposition seized its chance.
Its supporters turned out in huge numbers and paralysed the centre of Tehran; estimates of the turnout ranged from 100,000 to 500,000. They were young and old, male and female, rich and poor, and came with green wristbands, T-shirts, balloons and banners to show support for Mr Mousavi’s green movement.
Source: Times Online