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Trigger for protest clashes in Iran

2009-12-29 14:32 BJT

 

Supporters of Iran's opposition party have been staging anti-government protests during holidays and on other symbolic days, since the June election. But the escalation of recent clashes with security forces is being blamed on the death of a religious leader.

87-year-old Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri died on December 20th. He was a harsh critic of Iran's leaders, and his death gave renewed momentum to opposition protests. Hundreds attended his funeral in Iran's holy city of Qom.

To prevent the funeral from becoming an opposition gathering, the government deployed troops to control the situation. But there were still some clashes.

Iranian officials believe opposition supporters took advantage of the Ashura festival to launch larger protests. But others argue it was the death of the opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew during the Ashura festival, that triggered the violence.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: CCTV.com