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IRAN: Protest chants erupt across Tehran as authorities step up pressure on opposition

September 21, 2010 |  6:38 am

Chants of "Allah akbar", or "God is great," rang out into the night. 

Once again, Iranian opposition supporters took to the rooftops of Tehran on Monday night, voicing their opposition to the authorities amid a ratcheting up of pressure on reformist leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, according to opposition websites and video footage uploaded to the internet.

Videos said to have been recorded on Monday night show dimmed views of the Tehran skyline from rooftops as chants of "Allah akbar" and shouting are heard in the background.

Last week, security forces raided Mousavi's office, confiscating computers and documents, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has reportedly replaced Mousavi's bodyguards with men from its own ranks. Meanwhile, Karroubi's house recently came under siege by pro-government militiamen ahead of state-run rallies earlier this month.

Fears linger among some that the increased pressure on Mousavi and Karroubi is the beginning of a further crackdown on the reformist leaders.

Mousavi-allah-akbar So a number of reformist groups came together and organized Monday's protest in a bid to warn the authorities that they'd be crossing a "dangerous red line" if they took the opposition leaders to court, according to the opposition site The Green Voice of Freedom.

"The people's chants left no doubt that should the Iranian regime be foolish enough to in any form or shape imprison the Movement's leaders, the repercussions will indeed by 'bitter' and painful for Iran's ... rulers," read an article posted on the site.

On a Mousavi Facebook page, run by one of his supporters, people were encouraged to join in the chanting, and "Allahu akbar" had been written in Farsi all over Mousavi's status field. Videos from Monday night's chants of protest had also been posted.

There were no immediate reports of scuffles between protesters and security forces, but the video below purports to show how the Iranian security forces began to blow whistles loudly in an attempt to quiet the chanting protesters.


-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Videos: Opposition supporters purportedly chanting "Allah akbar" from rooftops in Tehran on Monday in protest of the authorities stepping up pressure on Iran's reformist leaders. Credit: YouTube

Photo: "Allahu akbar" is written again and again in the status field of a Facebook page run by a Mir-Hossein Mousavi supporter in Germany.