TEHRAN, Iran – Tens of thousands of hard-line government supporters turned out for state-sponsored rallies Wednesday, some of them calling for the execution of opposition leaders as Iran’s police chief threatened to show “no mercy” in crushing any new protests by the pro-reform movement.
Pro-government rallies were staged in Shiraz, Arak, Qom and Tehran, among other cities. Demonstrators at a rally in Tehran chanted “Death to Mousavi,” a reference to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Some shouted “Rioter hypocrites must be executed” and held up a banner that read: “We sacrifice our blood for supreme leader.”
The government gave all civil servants and employees a day off to attend the rallies and organized buses to transport groups of schoolchildren and supporters from outlying rural areas to the protests.