Protesters mark Iranian election

TEHRAN — Anti-government protesters took to the streets of the Iranian capital Saturday for the first time in four months, commemorating the anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed election victory a year ago despite the cancellation of a planned mass rally.

Demonstrators turned out all along Revolution Street, one of Tehran’s longest avenues, sporadically shouting slogans in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of the leaders of the opposition. But security forces were present in overwhelming force, hundreds on motorcycles and hundreds of others patrolling on foot, and no serious clashes erupted.

“There were so many plainclothes officers that we didn’t know who was with us or who against us,” a protester said. “But people were not afraid at all, which must be worrying for the government.”

Even though the demonstrations were far smaller and the atmosphere generally calmer than in the post-election protests last year, that people decided to go out was remarkable, analysts said. Over the past year, thousands have been arrested at such events, hundreds were jailed and at least two people were hanged, allegedly for participating in the protests.

After officials refused to give permission for a Saturday demonstration, Mousavi and his fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi asked supporters not to protest, in order “to protect people’s lives and property,” according to a joint statement published on their websites.

At least 10 people were arrested, according to witnesses. In central Enghelab Square, riot police at times used batons to disperse groups of people, and two women were seen being taken away by security forces.

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