Death Toll Rises to 10 as Clashes in Iran Intensify
New York Times / Robert F. Worth & Nazila Fathi

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Iranian police opened fire into crowds of protesters on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, witnesses and opposition Web sites said, and setting off a day of chaotic street battles that seemed poised to deepen the country’s civil unrest.The nationwide protests, on the holiday commemorating the death of Hussein, Shiite Islam’s holiest martyr, were the bloodiest and among the largest since the uprisings that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election last June, witnesses said. Hundreds of people were reported wounded in cities across the country, and the Tehran police said they had made 300 arrests.

The authorities’ decision to use deadly force on the sacred Ashura holiday infuriated many Iranians, and some said the violence appeared to galvanize more traditional religious people who have not been part of the protests so far. Historically, Iranian rulers have honored Ashura’s prohibition of violence, even during wartime.

In Tehran, thick crowds marched down a central avenue in mid-morning, defying official warnings of a harsh crackdown on protests as they chanted “death to Khamenei!” referring to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

They refused to retreat even as police fired tear gas, charged them with batons and fired warning shots. The police then opened fire directly into the crowd, opposition Web sites said, citing witnesses. At least five people were killed in Tehran, four in the northwestern city... >>>

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