After Killing At a Bazaar, Iran Declares 2 Days Off
New York Times / WILLIAM YONG

TEHRAN — The Iranian government declared a sudden, two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday, after a long-simmering dispute between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Tehran bazaar erupted last week, leaving one prominent merchant dead, according to opposition Web sites.

Shopkeepers in Tehran’s traditional bazaar district called a strike last Tuesday to protest what was rumored to be a planned 70 percent rise in income taxes. The government denied the rumors, calling them a misunderstanding that resulted from a “mistake” in the way the plan was presented.

But a prominent textile trader was killed when pro-government militiamen and police officers raided the bazaar on Wednesday, demanding that shopkeepers reopen for business, opposition Web sites reported. One member of the textile merchant’s guild was said to have been arrested on Wednesday after addressing a crowd and calling for the strike to continue.

Officials cited excessive summer heat and energy consumption as the reason for the holiday, but weather forecasters said that recent temperatures in excess of 100 degrees were normal for this time of year.

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