Iran's Mousavi urges peaceful rallies on Thursday

Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:45am EDT

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TEHRAN, June 17 (Reuters) - Defeated presidential election candidate Mirhossein Mousavi has called on supporters to stage peaceful demonstrations or gather in mosques on Thursday to express solidarity with people killed in post-election unrest.

Seven people were killed in a vast opposition protest on Monday in central Tehran, state media has said.

"In the course of the past days and as a consequence of illegal and violent encounters with (people protesting) against the outcome of the presidential election, a number of our countrymen were wounded or martyred," Musavi said on his website.

"I ask the people to express their solidarity with the families .... by coming together in mosques or taking part in peaceful demonstrations," Mousavi said.

He said he would also take part, but did not give details on when and where. The statement did not say if any demonstrations would be held on Wednesday.

Saturday's announcement of official election results showing hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a landslide against Mousavi sparked days of clashes between Mousavi backers alleging vote fraud and anti-riot police.

After Monday's deaths, Mousavi had urged followers to call off a planned rally in the same downtown area the following day.

Tens of thousands of his supporters marched instead on Tuesday in northern Tehran and many of them to the state television IRIB building, which was ringed by riot police, witnesses said.

Some were sending messages to others to meet again on Wednesday for a rally at Tehran's central Haft-e Tir Square. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; writing by Fredrik Dahl) )

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