(Wikipedia) - The 2009 Ashura protests were a series of protests which occurred on 27 December 2009 in Iran against the outcome of the June 2009 Iranian presidential election, which demonstrators claim was rigged. The demonstrations were part of the 2009 Iranian election protests and were the largest since June. In December 2009, the protests saw an escalation in violence, and some extremists crossed the line by damaging public property and setting police cars on fire.
Irregularities during the 2009 Iranian presidential election caused resentment among many Iranians. While post-election protests were mostly peaceful, some violence erupted, leading to clashes between security forces and protesters, while some outspoken political dissenters were detained.
However, dissenters continued to speak out against the Government, leading to further protests in December 2009.
On the eve of Ashura, a very special day for Shia mourning the state TV showed footage of protesters cheering in happiness. It was reported that terror groups such as MKO and Jondollah had infiltrated the crowd in order to create chaos and violence. In particular videos posted on the internet showed protesters singing, clapping and whistling on the Day of Ashura. Breaking an old taboo created negative sentiments against the Iranian Green Movement. The state media used the evidence and played this precious card well, riding the tide to crack down on dissidents.
The semi-official Fars News Agency said the clashes had been caused by Mousavi's supporters, who had "followed the call of the foreign media". It accused "deceived hooligans" of setting fire to the Quran and "disrespecting" Ashura.
Police described the deaths as suspicious and denied that orders had been given to open fire. Iran's deputy police chief, Ahmad Reza Radan, said only one person had been shot, but not by police.
Two days after the events, the Iranian president likened the anti-government protests during Sunday's observances of Ashura to "a theater play by the Zionists and the Americans," the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said.
"The Iranian nation has witnessed many plays of this kind: a play ordered by the Zionists and the Americans, who had purchased the tickets to this play and were the only audience of this play," IRNA quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying.
There were factors that harmed the credibility of the anti-government campaign known as Green Movement. The fact that the western media known for its anti-Iranian instance supported the pro-monarchy lobbies and pupping up figures claiming leadership. Also, prominent leaders of the opposition did not keep a clear distance with known terror groups such as MKO.
On December 30, 2009, massive pro-government demonstrations took place in Shiraz, Arak, Qom, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tehran, among other cities in Iran. This was a turning point after which some key figures were arrested. Some prominent dissidents were put on trial and a few got prison sentences.