Monday, July 27, 2009

Iran opposition vows protests will go on

Anti-government protests will continue in Iran, despite reports that pro-reform lawyers and other activists are being arrested, the country's opposition leader said Monday.

"The pro-reform path will continue," Mirhossein Mousavi said in a statement, according to Reuters. "The establishment should respect the constitution and let us to gather to commemorate our killed loved ones on Thursday."

Mousavi, along with another opposition politician, Mehdi Karoubi, have called on the government to allow demonstrators to gather in a Tehran square Thursday to remember the victims of recent anti-government violence.

Since Iran's disputed June 12 presidential vote, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have held protests denouncing the election as fraudulent until security forces launched a heavy crackdown, arresting hundreds and killing at least 20, according to police. Rights groups believe the number could be far greater.

Activist groups allege government forces are continuing to arrest prominent human rights lawyers in an attempt to spread fear.

Mousavi said such arrests would not thwart the pro-reform movement, said the Reuters report.

"The killings and arrests are a catastrophe, people will not forgive those behind such crimes," Mousavi said, adding: "I am sure the judiciary is not informed about many arrests."

"The country of 70 million cannot become a prison for all of them. The more they arrest people, the bigger this movement becomes."

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