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Tehran is braced for its first big anti-government demonstration in two months today, despite strenuous efforts by the regime to thwart it.
The opposition hopes to turn al-Quds Day, Iran’s annual show of solidarity with Palestinians, into a protest against President Ahmadinejad’s re-election in June and the suppression of dissent that followed.
The regime has responded by barring Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former President who has expressed support for the opposition, from addressing the commemoration as he has done for the past 25 years. Mr Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a hardline cleric, will speak instead.
The regime has also warned that it will crack down “decisively” on any protests against the Government and has encouraged Tehranis to take a long weekend and leave the capital. Unconfirmed reports say that it is planning to bus in its own supporters.