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Story Publication logo December 27, 2009

Festival Turns Deadly in Iran


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After a hotly contested presidential election that resulted in street riots and a disputed claim to...


Iran saw its deadliest day of protests in six months on Sunday as hundreds of thousands of people clashed with security forces on the streets of major cities at the climax of a Shiite religious festival.

At least four people were reportedly killed in incidents where regime forces shot live gunfire into crowds, according to those identifying with reformist groups.

Witnesses described demonstrators constructing street barricades and fighting against security forces for the control of squares.Reports from reformist sources claimed that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had been transported to a military base in a helicopter from his residence in central Tehran. Witnesses described helicopters hovering over central Tehran.

"There's fighting going on across the north of the city, and the number of killed is far more than the four whose death has been announced," said one witness, who described the kind of weapons used as "Colts and a larger handgun."

"They have been spraying people with bullets," said the witness.

The reformist Rahesabz news agency reported that officers were refusing to shoot into crowds as per their commanders' instructions and aiming at the sky, instead.

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