The march on Qods Day (a day officially celebrated in Iran to show solidarity with the people of Palestine), which was for the first time attended by hundreds of thousands of green clad opposition protesters, sparked diverse domestic and international reaction. On one hand Western nations and even Russia condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks calling the Holocaust a myth, while on the other, international and domestic media outlets covered the massive presence of green clad opposition protesters. Meanwhile, media outlets close to Ahmadinejad's administration attempted to manipulate the opposition's presence to the government's advantage, ignoring their massive presence and claiming that people had come out to the streets only to support Ahmadinejad and in opposition to Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi.
State Television Airs Archived Footage
While all international media outlets aired photographs and footage of the massive opposition turnout, the Islamic Republic state television network aired archived footage from previous Qods Day rallies.
The spokesperson for Tehran's police chief announced the number of opposition protesters to be small and confirmed that several had been arrested.
Mehdi Ahmadi claimed that a "small" number of people chanted "slogans outside the scope of the Qods Day" while marching from Haft-e Tir toward Vali-Asr square in central Tehran.
According to the state-run ILNA news agency, Ahmadi added that the police arrested several individuals before they were able to set motorcycles on fire and damage other public property.
The remarks of the police spokesperson contradicts hundreds of photographs and videos broadcast from the Qods Day rallies.
Russian Flag Set on Fire
Sarmayeh daily reported that a Russian flag was set on fire by protesters, quoting Habibollah Asgaroladi, secretary-general of the Jamiat-e Motalefeh (Islamic Coalition Society, a conservative group): "Some of Mousavi's supporters marched on a different street away from people. These individuals had gathered because of the massive advertising of foreign and domestic media outlets, but their numbers were not comparable to the massive wave of people who had turned out to support the Islamic revolution. I am worried for Mir-Hossein Mousavi more than before. I believe the path that he has chosen is outside the path of the revolution and the people. We hope that Mousavi will realize his mistake very soon and start taking the path of the people."
State Media Outlets Enraged by Opposition Presence
Unlike reformist newspapers, which abided by the National Security Council's memorandum imposing restrictions on covering opposition protests, media outlets close to the Ahmadinejad administration ignored the memorandum. These media outlets, which were extremely enraged by the opposition's massive presence, insulted Mir-Hossein Mousavi, seyyed Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karoubi, and portrayed the opposition protesters as a bunch of Ramadan fast-breakers and Khawarej [dissenters in the early history of Islam].
The hard-line Kayhan daily accused "the greens and supporters of Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatami of dancing for and serving the interests of Zionists."
... Payvand News - 09/21/09 ... --