Monday, June 20, 2005

Iran News - Tens of thousands of police to patrol Iran

Iran News - Tens of thousands of police to patrol Iran: "Tens of thousands of police to patrol Iran

Friday, June 17, 2005 - ©2005

LONDON, June 17 (IranMania) - Tens of thousands of Iranian security forces will be on the streets Friday to ensure the country's tight presidential election passes off smoothly, officials said.

The run-up has already been disturbed by deadly bomb attacks at the weekend in the ethnic Arab-dominated city of Ahvaz and Tehran that killed up to 10 people that authorities said were aimed at scaring people off from turning out.

Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi-Lari said that there will be two police officers stationed at each of the 41,000 polling stations across Iran.

Some 20,000 members of the Iranian security forces will be on duty in the capital Tehran to ensure the safety of voters, the student ISNA agency reported.

"Altogether 20,000 police will be used from Thursday morning until Saturday morning, out of which around 10,000 will in charge of the security of 3,276 polling stations," said the head of Tehran's police force, Brigadier General Morteza Talai.

"No car is allowed to park within a 50 metre (165 feet) radius of any polling station," he added.

With campaigning banned on the day before the election, he said the police will "seriously confront any campaigning near polling stations".

He also told citizens "not to listen to rumours and advice given by those who are sitting in Los Angeles since this is just psychological pressure aimed at undermining people's participation," in a reference to anti-regime US-based satellite channels.

Outgoing President Mohammad Khatami has expressed concern there was an "organised movement" attempting to disrupt the election, the most competitive in the Islamic republic's history."