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IRAN: Reports, video footage from Ashura protests emerge on the Internet

December 27, 2009 |  1:49 am

Reports and footage from the fierce clashes taking place in Tehran between opposition supporters and police on the Shiite Muslim commemoration Ashura are starting to surface online, on social media networks such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook

Thousands of opposition protesters reportedly have gathered in the Iranian capital, chanting anti-government slogans and clashing with police and security forces.

Madyar on the micro-blog service Twitter wrote in a post that the street demonstrators were chanting, "Death to the dictator!" and "This is the month of blood, the Supreme Leader will be toppled."

The unrest started Saturday when pro-government Basiji militiamen barged into Tehran's Jamaran mosque where reformist leader Mohammad Khatami was delivering a speech. The extraordinary footage below shows the group forcing Khatami to end his speech and the audience responding in anger to the intrusion.

Footage posted on YouTube shows a large crowd gathered peacefully in a street in Tehran in commemoration of Ashura.

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Video: More unrest in Tehran. Credit: YouTube