Rebellion In The Air
“The sober ceremony, in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accepted an awkward kiss on the shoulder in a show of fealty from Ahmadinejad, was notable for the absence of prominent political and religious figures, as well as relatives of the country’s late revolutionary leader and opposition presidential candidates, who continue to dispute the results of the June 12 election.
Afterward, witnesses reported unrest in central Tehran, and security forces deployed to prevent government opponents from demonstrating against a second four-year term for Ahmadinejad. Riot police and pro-government Basij militia turned out in force on main streets and squares, where groups of protesters attempted to gather and where motorists honked car horns in a show of opposition, witnesses said.
“I heard people honking in their cars, and security forces shot tear gas,” said one witness in a phone call from a shop on Vali-e Asr Street. “Everything became chaotic. There was shooting, and I saw them arresting an old woman.”
The semiofficial Fars news agency reported that opposition presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi showed up at a demonstration against the inauguration, joining about 100 supporters at a street intersection before riot police broke up the gathering. Iranian state television charged that Karroubi, 71, a Shiite cleric and former parliamentary speaker, was “egging on the hooligans,” who chanted slogans such as “death to the dictator!” “