Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: February 19 • Printable version    

Iranian hardline cleric claims protesters "dared not show up"

Ahamd Khatami

Hardline cleric, Ahmad Khatami who has repeatedly derided the post-election protests and the opposition leaders from Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayers podium, was hard at his efforts today claiming protesters, which he has dubbed as “rioters”, did not dare appear in February 11 demonstrations.

Despite Ahmad Khatami’s claims, reports indicate that security forces and pro-government mobs in plain clothes attacked protesters and the opposition leaders, even briefly arresting some of them, in order to stop them from joining the demonstrations.

Khatami told today’s worshipers in Tehran that international media had gathered on February 11 to relay “disturbances and clashes” rather than reflect the “epic” support of people for the Islamic Republic.

Reportedly international media representatives were bussed on February 11 directly to the place of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech and forbidden from reporting on the presence of protesters or clashes on the sidelines.

Ahmad Khatami dismissed the gravity of the protesters’ demands and maintained that the people are fed up with the opposition.

In the past eight months, over five thousand protesters of the June presidential elections, which they claim was fraudulent, were arrested and at least 40 have been killed.

The government tried to suppress the planned protests for February 11 by engaging in a new wave of arrests prior to the set date and enforcing harsh security measures during the events.

Against all odds, protesters did gather on February 11 and State media reportedly censored images of Green protesters and even had to cut off the sound from some of its coverage of the demonstrations to deny presence of protesters.

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