Opposition, pro-government Iranians in streets for al-Quds Day / PHOTO

Pro-and anti-government demonstrators have filled the streets of Tehran, for rallies marking the country's annual Palestinian solidarity day.

Opposition, pro-government Iranians in streets for al-Quds Day / PHOTO

Pro-and anti-government demonstrators have filled the streets of the Iranian capital, Tehran, for rallies marking the country's annual Palestinian solidarity day.

Israel captured Al-Quds in the 1967 six-day war and later annexed the city, in a move the international community condemned.



Tens of thousands of Iranians, wearing green accessories, shouted slogans in support of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, as they marched at the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally at a key Tehran square on Friday, witnesses said.

The city is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.



Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Witnesses reported instances of clashes between the rival demonstrators as well as between opposition supporters and security forces.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the reports.



Pro-government supporters among the more than 100,000 people who joined the rally, mounted counter-demonstrations leading to repeated scuffles between the two sides, witnesses said.

Mousavi was forced to abandon his plans to take part in the rally after an angry crowd attacked his car, the official IRNA news agency said.



But as demonstrators headed away from the university district after the main speeches, they clashed with both riot police and hardliners in plain clothes, they said.

"Security forces just arrested over 10 people," a witness told Reuters news agency.

Iranian authorities, including Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had warned the opposition against hijacking Quds rallies.

"Quds (Jerusalem) Day" rallies are held nationwide every year on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.



Al-Quds is also home to some of the holiest Christian worship places, including the Jerusalem Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

Israel has been working hard over the past years to Judaize the holy city and change its Islamic identity.It has been adopting a series of oppressive measures to force the
Palestinians out, including systematic demolition of their homes.

In his address to the crowds, which was broadcast live on state radio, Ahmadinejad renewed his comments about Israel and the Holocaust.

"The very existence of this regime is an insult to the dignity of the people," he said.

"They (Western powers) launched the myth of the Holocaust. They lied, they put on a show and then they support the Jews.



"The pretext for establishing the Zionist regime is a lie... a lie which relies on an unreliable claim, a mythical claim, and the occupation of Palestine has nothing to do with the Holocaust," he added.

"This claim is corrupt and the pretext is corrupt.

"This (the Israeli) regime's days are numbered and it is on its way to collapse. This regime is dying."

Ahmadinejad repeated on Thursday that Iran would never abandon its peaceful nuclear programme to appease Western critics.



In an NBC-TV interview, "We don't need nuclear weapons," Ahmadinejad said, speaking through an interpreter. "We do not see any need for such weapons. And the conditions around the world are moving to favour our ideas," he added.

"If you are talking about the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes, this will never be closed down here in Iran," he said.

Iran has repeatedly said it is enriching uranium only to generate electricity.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Eylül 2009, 14:50
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