Just two days ago Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had issued a warning to the "defeated" candidate of the election Mir Hossein Mousavi. Toe the party line or else. Today he has stepped up his warning and judging from this article I do not think that there will be a third.
Witnesses report fierce clashes on Tehran streets
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI and NASSER KARIMI
TEHRAN, Iran – Police beat protesters and fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands who rallied Saturday in open defiance of Iran's clerical government, sharply escalating the most serious internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Eyewitnesses described fierce clashes after some 3,000 protesters, many wearing black, chanted "Death to the dictator!" and "Death to dictatorship!" near Revolution Square in downtown Tehran. Police fired tear gas, water cannons and guns but it was not clear if they were firing live ammunition.
Some protesters appeared to be fighting back, setting fire to militia members' motorcycles, witnesses said. Helicopters hovered, ambulances raced through the streets and black smoke rose over the city.
Police and militia were blocking protesters from gathering on the main thoroughfare running east from Revolution Square to Freedom Square, the witnesses said.
A massive rally in Freedom Square Monday set off three consecutive days of protests demanding the government cancel and rerun June 12 elections that ended with a declaration of overwhelming victory for hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi says he won and Ahmadinejad stole the election through widespread fraud. Mousavi has not been seen since or issued public comment since a rally Thursday.
Web sites run by Mousavi supporters had said he planned to post a message, but there was no statement by the time of the planned street protests at 4 p.m. (7:30 a.m. EDT, 1130 GMT). Some pro-reform Web sites called for people to take to the streets.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sternly warned opposition leaders Friday to end street protests or be held responsible for "the bloodshed, the violence and rioting" to come. The statement effectively closed the door to Mousavi's demand for a new election, ratcheting up the possibility of a violent confrontation.
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