In Iran, a demonstration called by left-wing groups who are demanding share in running of the country, has given the new government its first taste of real opposition.
In Iran, a demonstration called by left-wing groups who are demanding share in running of the country, has given the new government its first taste of real opposition. More than a hundred thousand people gathered at a rally held at Teheran University on Friday (23 February) in what is seen by many as the strongest challenge so far to the Ayatollah Khomeiny, the guiding force behind the country's revolution.
SYNOPSIS: The Ayatollah, ordering his followers to stay away from the rally, had described the demonstrators as described the demonstrators as "Marxist opportunists who at war with Islam." But the left-wing, angry at the provisional government's refusal to share power with them, ignored the ban. And in the streets leading to the University, armed guerrillas once more took to the streets in a show of strength that underlines again the division that still exists in the new Islamic Republic.
These people believe the revolution has not gone far enough. They rate the Ayatollah as a moderate who has not taken a hard-enough line with those the left-wing consider as imperialistic. They have said that their battles to overthrow the Shah would have been in vain, if they are now unable to have a say in shaping the destiny of the new nation.
Supporters of the Ayatollah staged a counter demonstration outside the university. Although there was a vocal exchange of slogans, there was no direct confrontation, and the rally inside continued, with speaker after speaker calling for an extension of the revolution.
The left-wing have considerable force, not only in numbers, but in arms as well. They can put a well-equipped militia on the streets within minutes, with orders coming, ironically, from their new headquarters....the building once occupied by the secret police. If they don't get their own way with the government, the feat is that they may resort to violence, and disrupt the fragile stability that the new regime has brought to the country.