Despite extensive security measures, people celebrate Chahar-shanbeh-souri

Reports from Iran say that despite the clerical regime's extensive repressive measures such as issuing frequent directives and stationing the State Security Force in different streets and regions, last night, people in many Iranian cities celebrated Chahar-shanbeh-souri (the festival of fire held on the last Tuesday of the Iranian year which ends on March 21).

In Abbas Abad and Andisheh streets in Tehran, young men and women who had gathered to celebrate Chahar-shanbeh-souri and jump over the fire, were attacked by special forces of from "enjoying good and preventing evil" bureau.

In the ensuing clashes, the regime's suppressive forces used truncheons and tear gas to confront the crowd and beat up many of them, arresting and taking away at least 16 youngsters.

In Ilam (western Iran), in Tangeh Arghavan and Dallahou recreational areas, residents celebrated Chahar-shanbeh-souri by exploding fire crackers and setting fire to Khatami and Khamenei's pictures.

In Isfahan, in Raja'i park, the people clashed with the security forces and the State Security Force after being attacked. The regime's agents reciprocated by setting fire to booths residents had set up in the streets and arrested a number of people.

In Gorgan (northern Iran), local people put the effigy of a mullah on fire as celebrations continued until 2:00 a.m.

The state-run Jomhouri Islami wrote yesterday: "The Mojahedin organization has issued a directive, instructing those in contact with it to celebrate Chahar-shanbeh-souri. Among other things, the Mojahedin have instructed that people clash with the State Security Force in order to wreak havoc on the pretext of this ritual which is nothing more than worshipping fire."

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 17, 1999

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