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Iran Erupts: Shots Fired at Defiant Iranian Protesters

Gunshots heard at a rally for opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

ByABC News
June 15, 2009, 5:47 AM

TEHRAN, Iran, June 15, 2009 — -- Gunshots were fired during a rally for Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran Monday, after hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered to protest the disputed presidential elections, according to witnesses and news accounts.

At least one person is reportedly dead. Witnesses told the AP and Reuters that an unknown number of protesters were shot by pro-government militia, after a handful of demonstrators entered the militia compound near the site of the rally in Tehran's Freedom Square.

"The shots came from the roof," an eyewitness said. "They hit a car with protesters riding on top. One man was hit and flung from the car. It was awful."

An Associated Press photographer told ABC News he saw pro-government militia fire at opposition protestors, killing one.

But a Mousavi supporter who was at the rally told ABC News she saw a male protester shot and injured in the leg or foot, and taken to a hospital.

Mousavi appeared at the rally before shots were fired at the crowd, and spoke briefly to his supporters, urging calm. It was the defeated candidate's first appearance since election day.

"I'm ready to pay any price to realize your ideals," he said to his supporters. "We have to stand up to this astonishing charade."

Iran's state television also reported that shots were fired during the rally and that people were seen running away.

The large rally was held despite the Iranian interior ministry refusing a request by Mousavi for permission to hold a rally. Unlike previous protests dominated by young people, today's mixed young and old, students and professionals.