More than a million people travelled on foot, in open trucks and on motorcycles to central Teheran on Friday (17 August), to pledge their support for the Palestinian cause.
More than a million people travelled on foot, in open trucks and on motorcycles to central Teheran on Friday (17 August), to pledge their support for the Palestinian cause. The demonstration was held jointly in Teheran and Beirut and called by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who declared the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, `Jerusalem Day'.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstrators came from all over the city of Teheran and it environs to pledge their support to Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organisation. They congregated at Teheran University, chanting slogans and carrying portraits of religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini, and the PLO leader. Many people carried small mats in preparation for mid-day prayers and some wore traditional Palestinian head-dresses. The demonstration was the first since factional street violence last week, and a government clampdown on unauthorised marches.
The first to arrive at the University were several hundred Iranian Army officers and other men in uniform who chanted `Moslem brothers arise and liberate Jerusalem'.
There was also a rally in Beirut on Friday (17 August) to mark `Jerusalem Day'. Thousands of people flocked through the streets of the Lebanese capital, showing their support for the PLO. A horseman led a band and young people through the city declaring their support for Yasser Arafat and his hardline policies.
PLO leader Yasser Arafat told an enthusiastic audience that "We must strike at the head of the snake. We must strike at America". Arafat's speech came just a day after another PLO leader, Mahmoud Labadi, said that the PLO was a key element int he Middle East, and "sooner or later the U.S. Administration will have to send its highest officials to talk to the PLO leadership and chairman Yasser Arafat. The PLO also expressed outrage at the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young. The Young affair came amid a series of Palestinian successes on the political and diplomatic levels, and appeared to contradict a low - key but growing trend among European leaders to favour PLO participation in future Middle East peace moves.
Dr. George Habash was also a speaker at the Beirut rally. The chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemned, what he termed, shameful Arab negligence towards the conflict in southern Lebanon.
Arafat attacked the U.S. government for its policy of not recognising the PLO until the PLO accepts Israel's right to exist.