Thousands of protesters streamed down avenues of the capital of Iran Thursday. They were chanting "death to the dictator" and defying security forces who fired tear gas and charged with batons, witnesses said. The first opposition foray into the streets in nearly two weeks aimed to revive mass demonstrations that were crushed in Iran's postelection turmoil, The Associated Press reports.
The witnesses in Tehran say police fired shots into the air and also used tear gas and batons to hold back protesters who tried to rally at Tehran University. The school was the site of a student uprising 10 years ago Thursday.
The witnesses also say about 3,000 demonstrators gathered near the site, some chanting "Death to the dictator." Some protesters set trash cans on fire. Police detained some of the demonstrators, and they also say members of the pro-government Basij militia have also been out in force, Voice of America reports.
Meanwhile Iranian police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam had said the force would strongly confront any anniversary protests.
Iran's English-language state Press TV said "calls for a major demonstration ... have failed to attract a large crowd," adding police used tear gas to break up the demonstration.
Thursday's protest was much smaller than those in the week after the presidential election, when hundreds of thousands of Mousavi supporters demonstrated in Tehran and other Iranian cities, before the security forces cracked down, Reuters reports.