On Wednesday, the Islamic Republic of Iran organized national demonstrations and struck out at reformist supporters of the Green Movement. On Sunday, protests against the government turned violent, killing at least 37 people during the key religious holiday of Ashura.
On Wednesday, the Islamic Republic of Iran reacted to last Sunday’s violent demonstrations by marshaling supporters in countrywide demonstrations and launching a media offensive against the opposition Green Movement.
At least 37 people were killed Sunday on the deadliest day of rioting since June’s disputed presidential election, which saw hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned to office amid widespread elections of fraud. For the first time, demonstrators switched from nonviolent tactics to engage the police with stones and batons. In response, the police fired tear-gas and bullets.
Government-funded newspapers lashed out Wednesday at the thousands of demonstrators who fought running battles with security forces during Shiite Islam’s major festival, labeling them “apostates” and calling for their “arrest and execution."
“Hossein’s Intifadah: So many troops came out for the love of the Leader,” trumpeted the pro-Ahmadinejad Raja News agency. “The people spontaneously roar: 'Don’t give protection to the leaders of the discord,' ” was the front-page cover of Kayhan, a newspaper that acts as a mouthpiece for the Islamic Republic.
On Wednesday, state television showed clips of pro-government crowds demonstrating against the opposition movement in cities around Iran. “Mass mobilization is always a very useful tactic used by revolutionary ideological governments, and these guys are good at it,” said Farid Mirbagheri, chairman of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus.
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