INTRODUCTION: Iran's clergy-led government says it is ready to discuss criticism from opposition groups, following bloody street clashes on Monday (27 April), between security forces and pro-radical demonstrators.
GV PAN Teheran street crowded with demonstrators ZOOM TO SV placards with portraits being carried by protesters.
SV PAN Portraits of crowds milling in street and chanting.
GV PULL BACK TO LV Crowds with arms raised, clapping.
TGV PAN Chanting crowds.
TGV Street packed with demonstrators carrying placards and banners.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Iran's clergy-led government says it is ready to discuss criticism from opposition groups, following bloody street clashes on Monday (27 April), between security forces and pro-radical demonstrators. A 16-year-old youth and a man, aged 30 died from bullets wounds during the demonstration which attracted some 100-thousand supporters of the Mujahideen-E-Khalq guerrillas, a semi-clandestine organisation combining radical ideology and islamic teachings.
SYNOPSIS: The Monday clash was the worst between opposition groups and security forces in the capital since April last year when Teheran University was cleared of student political groups. Twenty-five people died in that confrontation. This time, street battles broke out on the fringes of the mass demonstration.
Revolutionary guards fired repeatedly over the heads of the crowd to quell running clashes between rival groups of stone -throwing Mujahideen sympathisers, including women, and pro-government Islamic extremists. The fighting flared after the extremists, known as Hezbollahis -- member of the Party of God -- scuffled with supporters of the Mujahideen who called the rally to mourn the deaths of four women during factional clashes on the Caspian town of Qaem Shahr the previous week.
As the clashes continued in neighbouring streets, the main body of the rally moved on to hear speeches at the home of the late Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani, spiritual leader of the Mujahideen. The rally eventually was dispersed after nightfall -- more than four hours after it began -- when truckloads of security troops lobbed tear gas and fired over the combatants' heads. Many of the demonstrators were armed with stones and knives.
The Iranian government said later there was no need for such violence, and declared itself available for discussion and constructive criticism.