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40 people arrested after Friday prayers: Tehran Police

TEHRAN, July 20 (Mehr News Agency) -- About 40 people were arrested on the sidelines of congregational prayers on Friday in Tehran after they defied warnings by police, the police announced on Monday. Of those arrested, only those who caused disturbances at the end of prayers were kept in detention and the rest were freed.

Women protesting at the Friday Prayers in Tehran on June 17

Some supporters of defeated presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi attended the Friday prayers ceremony, which was led by Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Mousavi, Karroubi, and the third defeated presidential candidate, Mohsen Rezaii, also attended.

Zahra Rahnavard (center top), wife of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi at the Friday Prayers

The police issued a statement saying that the Friday prayers ceremony is a manifestation of unity and faith and its sanctity must be respected, but a number of people went to the congregational prayers at the invitation of some news websites and foreign media outlets and started skirmishes.

"These groups mostly did not intend to perform prayers... and planned to demonstrate and skirmish," the police statement added.

The police also said that many of the people who had gathered on nearby streets left after the sermons ended and did not stay for the prayer.

... Payvand News - 07/21/09 ... --

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