Black, green prevail as Tehran streets again thronged (Lead)

June 18th, 2009 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, June 18 (DPA) Hundreds of thousands of supporters of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi again thronged Tehran’s streets Thursday as protests continued for a sixth day over alleged fraud in last week’s presidential election and the killing of demonstrators.
Moussavi himself somehow managed to reach the venue and addressed the huge crowd.

Most protestors wore black after Moussavi had declared Thursday a mourning day for those killed. They also wore green armbands as a symbol for change and support for Moussavi, and bore white flowers.

The demonstration was focused on Imam Khomeini Square, one of the biggest in downtown Tehran. Not just the square but also nearby streets formed a sea of black and green.

Moussavi told the crowds that a rally scheduled for Friday had been cancelled, and that supporters should prepare themselves for a major march planned for Saturday afternoon from Revolution Square to Freedom Square.

Moussavi has applied for a permission at the interior ministry but it is unclear whether this would be granted. The huge protests of the past days have gone ahead in defiance of official bans.

Although protesters had earlier declared the rallies would be silent as their demands were already known, some still chanted angry slogans - although insulting Ahmadinejad in particular had been discouraged by the pro-Moussavi network coordinating demonstrations.

Slogans included “the Green Wave will not stop”, “we want election not selection”, “we might be blind, deaf and dumb but we are definitely not stupid” and “my green vote turned black with your name faked on it” - the last a reference to the alleged fraud which led to the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Protesters also called on other people to join the Green Wave, chanting: “We have a common pain which can only be cured together.”

No violent incidents were witnessed and there were no immediate reports of any from the Moussavi camp.

Hundreds of demonstrators had earlier Thursday gathered in front of the United Nations office to protest against the demonstrator deaths, numbers of which varied from five to 12 since Monday.

Protestors carried banners reading “UN where are you?” and “why do they kill our brothers?” They later left to join the main rally at Imam Khomeini Square.

Authorities earlier said they would look Saturday into allegations of irregularities in the election, official results of which accorded Ahmedinajad a landslide 63 per cent victory.

State television reported that Iran’s Guardian Council, in charge of approving the election process, had invited Moussavi and the two other presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaei, to be present at the review process, which is to start Saturday.

The council’s spokesman Abbas-Ali Khadkhodai said the three candidates had demanded to review 646 alleged irregularities.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had called on the Guardian Council carefully to check the candidates’ complaints.

Khamenei was meanwhile due to lead Friday prayers in Tehran and was expected to devote his sermon to the election dispute and popular protests.

Under the Iranian constitution, Khamenei has the final say on all state affairs and has the authority to annul the election and order a new vote.

A clergy group asked for permission from the Interior Ministry to hold the rally Saturday afternoon. Moussavi and former president Mohammad Khatami plan to attend if permission is granted.

The ministry had denied a similar request on Monday, but despite the ban and even warnings of police interference, hundreds of thousands turned out onto the streets.

Meanwhile the daughter and son of ex-president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani have been banned from leaving the country, Fars news agency reported Thursday.

Faezeh and Mehdi Hashemi are accused to have been involved in coordinating the recent unrest, Fars quoted an informed source as saying.

The report was a reference to recent protest demonstrations against alleged election fraud in the presidential elections which led to re-election of President Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad had before the June 12 election accused Rafsanjani and his children of fraud.

Faezeh Hashemi was a parliament deputy and head of the women’s sports committee, and has voiced her full support for Moussavi and actively backed him in the presidential election campaign.

She also took part in Tuesday’s demonstrations and even held a speech for protestors. She had also said before the election that all efforts should be made by the people so Ahmadinejad was not elected.

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