World News

Thousands of Mousavi supporters head for TV building

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Thousands of supporters of Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi marched on Tuesday toward the state television building, despite his call for them to call off a planned rally.

(Editors’ note: Reuters coverage is now subject to an Iranian ban on foreign media leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.)

Mousavi has disputed official results of Iran’s election, which showed a landslide win for hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and many tens of thousands of people marched in his support on Monday.

But he urged them to call off a second rally on Tuesday after pro-Ahmadinejad supporters announced a rival demonstration.

Mousavi supporters marching on Tuesday said they planned to assemble in front of the state television IRIB building in northern Tehran. Witnesses said some supporters had already gathered close to the building, which was ringed by riot police.

Wearing wristbands and ribbons in his green campaign colors, the Mousavi supporters carried his picture and made victory signs. Unlike Monday’s demonstration where marchers chanted anti-Ahmadinejad slogans, they walked largely in silence.

Some were passing on messages to others to meet again on Wednesday for a rally at Tehran’s central Haft-e Tir Square.

Dozens of riot police, flanked by Basij militia forces, watched them as they passed through one major square. Near the marchers a riot police motorbike lay on the road in flames, but the demonstration appeared to be peaceful.

Earlier on Tuesday, tens of thousands of Ahmadinejad supporters gathered at the site where Mousavi supporters had planned to assemble.

Editing by Charles Dick