Holding a green ribbon, a symbolic color of pro-reform Iranian opposition, a female opposition supporter attends a protest in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, in competition with government-sponsored mass rallies to mark an annual anti-Israel commemoration, the Quds Day that reflects the Persian nation's sympathy with the Palestinians. (AP Photo)
AP/Nasser Karimi—Hard-liners attacked senior pro-reform leaders in the streets as tens of thousands marched in competing mass demonstrations by the opposition and government supporters. Opposition protesters, chanting “death to the dictator,” hurled stones and bricks in clashes with security forces firing tear gas.
The opposition held its first major street protests since mid-July, with marchers decked out in green – the reform movement’s color – waving V-for-victory signs on major boulevards in the capital.
Iranian Protesters on Sept. 18, 2009
In some cases on several blocks away, larger crowds marched in government-sponsored rallies marking an annual anti-Israel commemoration, waving pictures of Iran’s supreme leader and president and placards denouncing the Jewish state.
The commemoration, known as Quds Day, is a major political occasion for the government – a day for it to show its anti-Israeli credentials and its support for the Palestinians. Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem. During a speech for the rallies, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against Israel and the West, questioning whether the Holocaust occurred and calling it a pretext for occupying Arab land.
But the opposition was determined to turn the day into a show of its survival and continued strength despite a fierce three-month-old crackdown against it since the disputed June 12 presidential election.
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Iran eyewitness: protest videos
Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets across Iran, defying government warnings against using the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally to resume protests.
Many demonstrators have been sending their videos to the BBC or posting them on video sharing website like YouTube. Here is a selection.
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