Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 20 - Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors rallied on Sunday in various parts of Tehran and other major Iranian cities, despite the deployment of thousands of security forces, plainclothes officers and members of the paramilitary Bassij militia throughout the country.

Iran Focus

Tehran, Feb. 20 - Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors rallied on Sunday in various parts of Tehran and other major Iranian cities, despite the deployment of thousands of security forces, plainclothes officers and members of the paramilitary Bassij militia throughout the country.

In the afternoon near Valiasr Square there were chants of "Down with dictator in Cairo, in Tehran" and "Seyed Ali will be overthrown", referring to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

At gatherings in other key spots in the capital there were chants of "Death to the dictator" and "Down with Khamenei". Police charged protestors with batons and used tear gas, while shots were also heard from several locations in the capital. Chants of "Mubarak, Ben-Ali, now is the time for Seyed Ali" were heard elsewhere in Tehran.

There were clashes in the afternoon between students and anti-riot forces at the student dormitory in Tehran University. Some students threw stones at armed security forces, and several rubbish containers were torched.

Some anti-government protestors attempted to hold a rally outside the state broadcasting corporation's offices in the afternoon.

The symbolic Azadi (Freedom) Square remained under the control of security forces which were stationed there in large numbers throughout the day.

In clashes in the Kurdish city of Mahabad (western Iran) anti-government protestors torched a truck belonging to the Revolutionary Guards, while the Guards opened fire on protestors, an Iran Focus correspondent reported.
 
Anti-government protests were also held in Shiraz (southern Iran), Isfahan (central Iran) and Rasht (northern Iran), several eye-witnesses told Iran Focus by telephone.
 
Sunday's protests were called by the opposition to commemorate the death of two anti-government protestors during rallies on 14 February.

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