Iranians turn fire festival celebrations into anti-mullahs demonstrations
Revolutionary Guards arrest 150 young people in Isfahan

Cities across Iran were the scene of extensive clashes between people celebrating the traditional fire festival and the security forces trying to suppress them. Clashes were reported in Tehran, Isfahan, Mahabad, Mashad, Sari, Qazvin and many other cities.

At about 11 pm on Tuesday, while thousands of people were celebrating the traditional fire festival in the First Square of East Tehran's suburb of Tehran Pars with bonfires and firecrackers, fully-equipped members of the special anti-riot units of the State Security Forces fired tear gas and charged at the crowd, violently beating people with truncheons. They arrested a number of young people.

The infuriated crowd responded by chanting slogans against the regime's leaders and smashing the windows of government buildings. Clashes went on until the early hours of Wednesday over a large area of Tehran Pars. Some of the security agents were beaten up by the people.

In north Tehran's Mohseni Square, members of the paramilitary Bassij roamed the streets on the back of several pickup trucks, attacking passers-by and especially women and beating them with clubs and sticks for being "improperly veiled."

Similar clashes between the people and security forces were reported in the western district of Shahrak-e Gharb and in Naft and Golestan avenues.

In Isfahan, the Revolutionary Guards arrested some 150 young demonstrators as they tried to disperse huge crowds celebrating the fire festival across the city. Many cars and motorcycles belonging to young demonstrators were confiscated by the suppressive forces. Young people responded by throwing stones and chanting slogans against the clerical dictatorship.

When the Guards fired tear-gas and opened fire, a small girl was injured in the eye and was taken to hospital. Clashes reached a peak in Sheikh Sadough Street and people forced the security forces' cars to retreat under a hail of rocks. Many people were injured in the Guards' attacks on demonstrators.

Young people celebrating the fire festival in Azadi Square of the western city of Mahabad last night were attacked by Revolutionary Guards. The demonstrators smashed the windows of government buildings and set fire to police kiosks in the streets. The Guards wounded or arrested many of the young demonstrators.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 15, 2000

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