Big crowd masses for mourning rally in Tehran

TEHRAN Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:08am EDT

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran Protesters hold signs and a picture of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi during a silent demonstration against the results of the Iranian presidential election in central Tehran June 17, 2009. Picture taken June 17, 2009. REUTERS/Fars News

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran Protesters hold signs and a picture of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi during a silent demonstration against the results of the Iranian presidential election in central Tehran June 17, 2009. Picture taken June 17, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Fars News

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi rallied in downtown Tehran Thursday to mourn those killed in mass demonstrations against what he says was a rigged election.

Chanting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) and dressed in black, they gathered in Imam Khomeini Square, a day after Mousavi called on supporters to gather in mosques or at peaceful rallies to show solidarity with the victims and their families.

Mousavi, who says last week's election was rigged in favor of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressed people in the crowd with a loudspeaker. He wore a black shirt and suit, witnesses at the scene said.

Demonstrators held photographs of the victims, some showing bloodied faces, apparently taken after they died.

"Our martyred brothers we will take back your votes," read one placard in the crowd. "Why did you kill our brothers?" read another.

Other banners told protesters to stay home Friday, when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is due to lead prayers at Tehran University, but to gather again for a rally in Tehran on Saturday afternoon.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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