Iranian conservatives are taking part in pro-government rallies in several major cities, in a show of strength against Iran's opposition movement.
Related Report by AP:
Iran hard-liners back government in mass rallies - Tens of thousands of hard-line government supporters turned out for state-sponsored rallies Wednesday, some of them calling for the execution of opposition leaders as Iran's police chief threatened to show "no mercy" in crushing any new protests by the pro-reform movement.
The government gave all civil servants and employees a day off to attend the rallies and organized buses to transport groups of schoolchildren and supporters from outlying rural areas to the protests.
Tens of thousands of Iranians were expected to attend the demonstrations, organized by the government in response to a recent series of opposition protests. Many conservatives at Wednesday's rallies chanted pro-government slogans and held pictures of Iran's clerical rulers.
Iranian conservatives have reacted angrily to opposition groups holding
anti-government protests during last Sunday's observance of Ashura, a solemn
Iranian police chief General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said Wednesday his forces will show no tolerance toward further opposition rallies, and will deal with them harshly.
Iran's government has said eight people were killed when security forces cracked
down on Sunday's protests in several Iranian cities.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday she is shocked by the violence and wants Iran to stop its security forces from using "excessive force" against demonstrators.
The poster says: "Without a Supreme Leader we'll have dictatorship"
Iran's government denies opposition claims that security forces opened fire on
protesters and describes the deaths of the eight activists as suspicious. Police
chief Moghaddam said Wednesday 500 protesters were arrested, of whom 300 remain
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed Sunday's protests as a "nauseating play" staged by the United States and Israel.
Mr. Obama said Monday he condemns what he called Iran's "violent and unjust
suppression of innocent Iranians." He also expressed "deep admiration for the
courage and conviction of Iranians."
One of those killed Sunday was the nephew of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Family members held a burial service for Ali Mousavi Wednesday in Tehran. Authorities had briefly removed his body from the Tehran hospital where he died, angering relatives.
Iranian police also have detained at least 20 high-profile opposition figures or
their associates in recent days.
Sunday's violence was the most serious in Iran since the protests that erupted after a disputed June election, which gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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