Iran election doubts bring thousands out in protest

By Agencies
June 13, 2009

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters have come out onto the streets in Iran to protest against what they see as 'fixed' elections. The government is arresting and imprisoning opponents and human rights activists.

The BBC and other news agencies report that demonstrators clashed with police after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of Iran's presidential poll.

Secret police are reported to have been attacked, while riot police used batons and tear gas against backers of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who called the results a "charade".

Correspondents say the violence is the worst seen in Tehran in a decade.

The official results gave Mr Ahmadinejad 63 per cent of the vote against just 34 per cent for Mr Mousavi.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the high turnout of 85 per cent, described the count as a "real celebration" and called for calm.

But many are denouncing the outcome as an aberration resulting from probable fraud. At the very least, election observers say, the result was expected to have been fairly close with surveys depicting growing support for the opposition.

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