Protests mark Iranian cleric's funeral

Montazeri, who died on Saturday night aged 87, was viewed as the spiritual patron of an opposition movement that blossomed after a disputed presidential election in June and has proved resilient despite repeated efforts to suppress it.

The reformist website Jaras said hundreds of thousands of people joined a procession for Montazeri, an architect of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the US-backed shah. He later became a fierce critic of its present hardline leadership.

“They were shouting slogans in his support and also in support of (opposition leader) Mirhossein Mousavi,” Jaras said. Ayande website, seen as close to conservative politician Mohsen Rezaie, said: “The burial ceremony has come to an end and the crowd are in the streets around the shrine demonstrating and shouting anti-government slogans.”
The reformist Kaleme website said crowds carrying “green symbols” had chanted: “Today is the day of mourning and the green Iranian nation is the owner of this mourning,” referring to the colour adopted by the opposition.

Riot police were out in force to in Qom, 125 km south of Tehran for the funeral of the senior Shi’ite cleric who had been a thorn in the side of the establishment during his life.

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