Opposition sources in Iran say at least eight people have been killed in fierce clashes between pro-reform protesters and security forces. It marks the bloodiest showdown between the two sides since the demonstrations that followed the disputed presidential election in June.
A nephew of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi was among those killed today. It is claimed he died in hospital after being shot in the chest.
Authorities had warned pro-reform activists against using this weekend’s religious festival of Ashura to revive protests aginst the clerical establishment. But people appear to have ignored this, pouring onto the streets of Tehran and other cities to commit previously unthinkable acts; one amateur video shows demonstrators trampling a sign bearing the name of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “This is the month of blood” demonstrators are said to have chanted, along with “Death to the dictator”.
Despite an initial police denial of any fatalities, Iranian state television later confirmed that several lives had been lost in the unrest. Several members of the security forces are reported to have been injured. Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB is reporting that around 300 arrests were made in Tehran.
It is difficult to verify information because of restrictions on foreign media in Iran.