Iranians clash with police on hostage crisis anniversary

Tehran, Iran (CNN)

-- Protesters clashed with police at a central Tehran square on Wednesday while government supporters nearby marked the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy capture with chants of "Death to America."

Scenes in the Iranian capital turned ugly yet again as riot police and pro-government Basij militia turned out in force to quash anti-government sentiment.

At least 2,000 opposition supporters, sternly warned by authorities to stay home, marched defiantly at Haft-e-Tir Square, witnesses said. Many held up their hands in a V sign. Others shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great," a slogan of protest. Police blocked all roads leading to the square, prompting massive traffic jams.

Witnesses described helmet-clad security personnel beating demonstrators with batons and firing tear gas at Haft-e-Tir Square and in a neighborhood a few kilometers north.

iReport: Iranians take to the streets

"I had never seen that many riot police and security personnel," a witness told CNN. "They were brought in by the busloads. As soon as crowds gathered somewhere, riot police were there within minutes."

Iranian reformists have chosen to hijack key anniversaries to protest the hardline government and Wednesday was the biggest ... >>>

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