Iran swoops on mournful moms

TEHRAN - Iranian security forces have arrested 30 so-called "mournful mothers" protesting the death or disappearance of their children in post-election unrest, an opposition website reported yesterday.

TEHRAN - Iranian security forces have arrested 30 so-called "mournful mothers" protesting the death or disappearance of their children in post-election unrest, an opposition website reported yesterday.

Kaleme.org, quoting witnesses, said the women were rounded up on Saturday in Laleh Park in Tehran.

"At about 4pm we were in Laleh Park and there were more than 100 police ... who were not allowing the mothers to sit on the benches or gather in groups," an unidentified witness told Kaleme.org.

"There were around 70 mothers in the park and the security chased them out. A number of them escaped but around 30 were arrested and were forcefully taken into police vans."

The women were driven to a police station, the website said, without giving more information.

"Mournful mothers" are a group of mothers whose children have gone either missing or have been killed in the aftermath of protests unleashed after the contested re-election in June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The women, who dress in black as a sign of mourning, usually gather in Laleh Park on Saturday afternoons to protest against the death or disappearance of their children.

Another website - http://mournfulmothers.blogfa.com/ - says security forces always intervene when the mothers meet in the park and that some of the women have been arrested in the past.

The group was set up after a young woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, was shot and killed in one of the post-election protests.

A video showing her bleeding to death was shown on websites around the world - making her a symbol of opposition to Ahmadinejad's contested re-election.

The mothers demand the prosecution of those who were behind the alleged killing and torture of their loved ones.

Iranian officials say 36 people died in the unrest, while opposition sources put the deaths at 72. - Sapa-AFP

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