Hundreds of Iranian riot police shot tear gas at protesters in Tehran today, as thousands marched toward the city’s central square in a show of solidarity with Egypt. Some police rode motorcycles and wielded paintball guns, the New York Times reports. Protesters chanted “Death to the dictator”—meaning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Meanwhile, access to opposition leaders was limited; Mir Hossein Moussavi’s phone lines were cut and his house blockaded with cars. Authorities banned reporters from covering the demonstration, echoing press restrictions that followed Iran’s 2009 presidential elections.
Demonstrators aimed to expose a double-standard: Iran’s leadership has celebrated the Egyptian uprising, but “if they are not going to allow their own people to protest, it goes against everything they are saying,” said another opposition leader. Authorities had earlier slammed the protesters. “The conspirators are nothing but corpses,” said a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. “Any incitement will be dealt with severely.”
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