IRAN was braced for more violent clashes today as opposition demonstrators planned further mass rallies, which are expected to lead to fresh confrontations between protesters and security forces.
Tension was running high at rallies yesterday in which soldiers of the elite Revolutionary Guard and the paramilitary Basiji used tear gas and pepper spray and fired warning shots into the air to disperse demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans in three areas of central Tehran. They also smashed the windows of cars that were hooting in protest.
The reports by opposition websites could not be independently verified because foreign journalists are banned from covering opposition rallies. But one eyewitness said opposition supporters had gathered in groups along one of the capital’s main streets, with the police out in force to keep them apart.
The opposition Jaras website claimed security forces had attacked a building housing Isna, an Iranian news agency, where it said some demonstrators had sought shelter during the clashes. An eyewitness said at least two people were injured when police chased after protesters into the building.
“They fractured the skull of one Isna person and badly beat up another employee,” the witness said. Isna’s news service appeared to be working normally and it later issued a report on the incident, saying one of its reporters had been injured without specifying who was to blame.