Thousands in Iran march in support of Arab revolts

Chants backing the protests of majority Shiites in Bahrain, who are challenging the Sunni dynasty's 200-year-old grip on power, dominated the demonstration which unfolded in the capital after Muslim Friday prayers.

"The Saudis are committing crimes and the US supports them," and "Death to America" chanted protesters. "Death to Israel," cried others. Slogans in support of the rebellion in Libya and protests in Yemen also rang out.

Tehran on Wednesday withdrew its ambassador from Manama "in protest at the mass killing of the people of Bahrain by its government."

Iran has also criticised the dispatch of Gulf troops to Bahrain to help confront the pro-democracy protests which have wracked the kingdom's capital Manama almost daily since mid-February.

Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, hardline cleric and head of the powerful Guardians Council, condemned the dispatch of Saudi troops to Bahrain after pronouncing Friday prayers.

"It is painful that when the authorities were about to be beaten, it called for help and asked Saudi Arabia to send in reinforcements. It is against international law."

He also called on Libyan rebels to pursue their struggle. You must not accept humiliation. One must fight. Die or succeed, there is no other choice," he said adding that Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi was "shell-shocked."

"With one look at his face you can see he is shell-shocked. Today, the Libyans woke up. The no-fly zone (adopted by the UN Security Council) will help a little... We hope the Libyans will win," he said as the crowd chanted "death to Gaddafi."


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