Iranian police have fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse opposition protesters in central Tehran, witnesses have said.
The clashes on Sunday came as the country’s Shia Muslim’s marked Ashoura, a religious event commemorating the 7th century death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.
“Hundreds of police, riot police and security forces are at Haft-e Tir square, Enqelab Street and near the main bazaar,” the opposition Jaras website reported.
Amateur video footage posted on the internet, said to be from the rally, showed protesters running away from riot police or Basij militias on motorbikes.
The opposition had urged people to gather in central Tehran on Sunday morning in defiance of warnings of a harsh crackdown on any protests during Ashoura.
There were also unconfirmed reports of clashes in the city of Isfahan and a mass demonstration in Shiraz.
Ghanbar Naderi, a journalist with the Iran Daily, an official government newspaper, criticised the protesters for choosing the day of Ashoura to stage demonstrations.
“This is the wrong place and the wrong time for the reformist camps to ask their supporters to get to the streets because this is a very important religious day for the whole of the nation,” he told Al Jazeera.
“If they are going to challenge the system now, they have no place among the ordinary citizens. People want to mark and commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and not th…