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December 21, 2009

Opposition clashes with government at Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s funeral

The BBC is reporting that clashes have taken place between members of the opposition and the government in wake of the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who passed away on Sunday, khoda biamorz. “Tens of thousands” reportedly joined the procession through the streets of Qom as the leading dissident cleric was finally laid to rest. Here’s more:

The reformist Jaras website said mourners chanted slogans in support of the cleric and also of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Mr Mousavi took part in the procession, along with fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.
Another site, Rahesabz.net, said some members of the hardline pro-government faction Ansar Hezbollah tried to stop chanting in the crowd, but left “after clashing with some people”.
Many mourners were carrying green banners or wearing green – the colour of Iran’s opposition.
Footage broadcast on the internet showed crowds chanting against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling him a “murderer” and saying his rule was illegitimate.
Other video showed thousands of mourners marching in Montazeri’s hometown of Najafabad, near the central city of Isfahan.
They beat their chests and chanted: “Oppressed Montazeri, you are with God now.”

While the government knows it cannot stop the funeral and mourning period from taking place, they have reportedly restricted the media and the movement of people even more.

Leading up to the funeral, buses carrying mourners were stopped and some passengers reportedly arrested.
The Jaras website said one of Montazeri’s students, Ahmad Qabel, had been detained on his way to the funeral.
Meanwhile, the BBC says fresh attempts have been made to jam its Persian television service to Iran.
Persistent interference started on Sunday shortly after the channel began coverage of the grand ayatollah’s death, the corporation said.

The Grand Ayatollah’s passing is a major loss for those seeking human rights and greater civil liberties in Iran. He will be missed.

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