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Protest marks disputed ’09 Iran vote

Associated Press / June 13, 2011

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TEHRAN— Iranian police swinging clubs chased protesters and made arrests yesterday to disperse hundreds of people who gathered in the capital to mark the second anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection, the opposition said.

Accusations of fraud in the June 2009 election sent waves of protesters into streets around the nation for months, triggering a deadly crackdown and mass trials of activists and political figures who sought overhaul. The movement grew into the most serious challenge to Iran’s ruling system since its birth in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but it was largely quashed after half a year.

The opposition website Kaleme.com said police tried to disperse protesters in one location of the capital, but there were few details. It said police detained many of the protesters and authorities ordered shops and public places like movie theaters to close early to prevent more crowds from gathering. The reports could not be verified since Iran’s government has banned foreign media from covering opposition activities.

Opposition activists based outside the country had called for a silent march on the second anniversary of the election.

Also yesterday, Kaleme.com said a jailed opposition activist, Hoda Saber, died of heart failure after a week on a hunger strike. Saber had been imprisoned since August 2010 and recently began a hunger strike to protest the death of another activist, Haleh Sahabi, who also died of heart problems after a scuffle with security officers.

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