Friday, October 23, 2009

Opposition leader is attacked at Tehran press fair

Mehdi Karroubi, the leader of the Etemad Melli Party and the most vocal critic of the Iranian regime, was attacked at the Tehran Press Fair this afternoon after being loudly cheered by supporters, according to Iranian media reports.

The following footage shows the crowd shouting 'Long live Karroubi! May Mousavi stand long!'

Parleman News, the news site of the minority Imam Line Faction of the Majlis, said that the assailants intended to inflict bodily harm on Karroubi. Karroubi had announced his intention earlier in the week to attend the fair.

The opposition leader was acclaimed upon his arrival at the trade gathering. He was charged by unknown assailants minutes later and his turban was knocked off. The following footage shows participants cheering Karroubi, then chanting 'Basijis have become savage! Basijis have become savage!'

In further footage, the crowd shouts 'Hemmat and Bakeri were true Basijis!' (Two famous revolutionary martyrs)

(For more footage, click twice on the videos on this page and consult the channels of the YouTube posters)

The semi-official Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, headlined its article on the attack with 'The people chased Karroubi from the exhibition as they chanted "Death to the hypocrite!"' Fars News posted a photo that looked suspiciously Photoshopped and showed a shoe striking Karroubi in the head. Earlier this week, a shoe was thrown at former Culture Minister Saffar Harandi as students protested his presence in Tehran University.

Fars News also claimed that one of Karroubi's bodyguards had opened fire into the air as Karroubi was rushed into a car. 'One of the bodyguards of this failed presidential candidate fired into the air to disperse the crowd, an act that is rarely carried out by bodyguards of personalities in this country,' said Fars.

The 16th Tehran Press Fair was closed to the public by authorities fearing that the green movement would take advantage of the gathering to launch protests.

The fair's organizers took the unprecedented step of setting up a stand devoted to complaints against presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, according to Kalemeh, Mousavi's official news site.

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