TEHRAN, Iran — Clashes between Iranian police and tens of thousands of protesters wracked central Tehran on Monday as security forces beat and fired tear gas at opposition supporters hoping to evoke Egypt’s recent popular uprising.
The opposition called for a demonstration Monday in solidarity with Egypt’s popular revolt that a few days earlier forced the president there to resign after nearly 30 years in office. The rally is the first major show of strength for Iran’s cowed opposition in more than a year.
APIranian protesters throw stones at anti-riot police officers during an anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran, on Monday.
Police used tear gas against the protesters in central Tehran’s Enghelab, or Revolution, square and in Imam Hossein square, as well as in other nearby main streets. Demonstrators responded by setting garbage bins on fire to protect themselves from the stinging white clouds.
Eyewitnesses said at least three protesters injured by bullets were taken to a hospital in central Tehran while dozens of others were hospitalized because of severe wounds as a result of being beaten.
“An Iranian dies but doesn’t accept humiliation,” demonstrators chanted. “Death to the dictator,” they said, in a chant directed at hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Security forces on motorcycles could also be seen chasing protesters through the streets, according to eyewitnesses.