The opposition supporters defied a heavy security presence and dire warnings from regime officials about the consequences of any effort to try to hijack the Quds (Jerusalem) Day event to mount the protest, the first against Ahmadinejad’s June re-election in two months.
Chanting slogans in support of the hardliner’s main challenger Hossein Mousavi, the protesters gathered in several places in the city centre for the traditional march to Tehran University where the speeches were delivered, witnesses said.
Hardline supporters of the regime among the more than 100,000 people who joined the rally, mounted counter-demonstrations leading to repeated scuffles between the two sides, witnesses said. Mousavi was forced to abandon his plans to take part in the rally after an angry crowd of hardliners attacked his car. Former president Mohammad Khatami was also assaulted by hardliners before being rescued by the police.