Iran protests turn violent as demonstrators confront police
LA Times / Borzou Daraghi and Ramin Mostaghim

December 28, 2009

Reporting from Tehran and Beirut - The months-long confrontation between Iran's budding opposition movement and a hard-line government determined to stamp it out escalated sharply over the weekend, as parts of the capital became engulfed in fiery political protest and demonstrations broke out across the country on the occasion of an important Shiite religious holiday.

Opposition websites reported as many as nine people killed in Tehran and the western city of Tabriz on Sunday during Ashura, a commemoration of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad. Officials put the death toll at five.

Among those allegedly shot dead by government security forces or allied militias was Ali Habibi-Mousavi, described by websites as the nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. 

Despite a heavy crackdown, the protest movement that emerged from Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election has grown increasingly daring, with members who seek an abolition of Iran's theocratic system becoming more vocal as more religious and traditional social groups identify with the opposition.

More demonstrations are expected with burial of Habibi-Mousavi, 38, today and on the religiously significa... >>>

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