Arrests and deaths as Egypt protest spreads across Middle East
Iranians defy government ban to join rally in Tehran, with demonstrations and street clashes in Bahrain and Yemen
By Ian Black, Middle East editor
Monday 14 February 2011
Egypt’s uprising has sent powerful shockwaves across the Middle East , with two deaths reported in street clashes in Iran and Bahrain and violent demonstrations in Yemen, as further protests and strikes erupted across Egypt.
Thousands of Iranians defied a government ban and volleys of teargas to join a rally in Azadi Square in the centre of Tehran. The protests were the biggest since those that erupted after the disputed 2009 presidential elections.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of the Iranian Green movement, was placed under house arrest, as was Mehdi Karroubi, another prominent opposition figure. Protest rallies were also held in Isfahan and Shiraz.
Iran’s Islamic regime has hailed the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, though neither involved organised activity by Islamist opposition movements. Both protests were led by young people seeking political freedoms and an end to autocracy – just like many Iranian demonstrators.
Large numbers of police and security forces, wearing riot gear and many mounted on motorbikes, were stationed around Tehran’s main squares. Mobile phone connections were down in the area of the protests.