Police disperse Iranian protesters with tear gas

Tehran, Feb 15 (AP) Clashes between Iranian police andtens of thousands of protesters wracked central Tehran,killing one person, as opposition supporters tried to evokethe spirit of Egypt''s recent popular uprising.

The opposition called for yesterday''s demonstration insolidarity with Egypt''s popular revolt that a few days earlierforced the president there to resign after nearly 30 years inoffice. The rally was the first major show of strength forIran''s cowed opposition in more than a year.

Police used tear gas against the protesters in centralTehran''s Enghelab, or Revolution, square and in Imam Hosseinsquare, as well as in other nearby main streets. Demonstratorsresponded by setting garbage bins on fire to protectthemselves from the stinging white clouds.

The pro-government Fars News Agency reported that abystander was shot dead at the hands of protesters.

Eyewitnesses said at least three protesters injured bybullets were taken to a hospital in central Tehran whiledozens of others were hospitalized because of severe wounds asa result of being beaten.

"An Iranian dies but doesn''t accept humiliation,"demonstrators chanted.

"Death to the dictator," they said, in a chantdirected at hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Security forces on motorcycles could also be seenchasing protesters through the streets, according toeyewitnesses.

Fars, which is linked to the Revolutionary Guard,Iran''s most powerful military force called protesters"hypocrites, monarchists, ruffians and seditionists," andridiculed them for not chanting any slogans about Egypt asthey had originally promised.

The agency added that an unspecified number ofprotesters were arrested and handed over to police andsecurity officials.

Opposition website kaleme.com reported that similarrallies took place in the central city of Isfahan and Shirazin the south. Security forces used force to disperse them aswell. (AP)

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