Police showing leniency, police chief tells Mousavi

June 21, 2009

TEHRAN -- National Police Chief Ismaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam has said that the police’s strategy so far has been to show leniency toward Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s supporters, who have been rallying in the streets claiming election fraud in the June 12 presidential election.

In a letter sent to Mousavi on Saturday, the police chief said that despite all their restraint, some websites have wrongly accused the police of mounting a crackdown on demonstrators.
However, Ahmadi-Moqaddam has warned that the police will deal forcefully with any illegal gatherings in the streets from now on.
In part of his letter, he said that during the presidential campaign, police provided a good atmosphere for candidates’ supporters to express their views and vigilantly prevented any confrontation between supporters of rival candidates.
And even though normal life in some parts of some cities was disrupted by illegal election rallies prior to election day, the police showed restraint and patience and the candidates’ election headquarters praised their conduct, he added.
But he noted, “After the election results were announced, your supporters took to the streets in an illegal way and disrupted order and public security… and under the cover of such chaos and illegality, a number of opportunists and hooligans damaged public property, set cars and motorcycles on fire, broke banks’ windows… and you and your supporters saw that the national police sternly responded to the hooligans, according to their legal duty, but showed leniency toward your supporters.
“Even though, in a message, you made a differentiation between yourself and your supporters, and the national police have also announced that there is a differentiation between hooligans and supporters… the reality is that the hooligans and rioters have been carrying out violent acts in the shadow of the illegal climate you created.”
He added that the police did not even fire a single shot to counter the thugs and that is the reason why 400 policemen were injured in the protests.
In the end, National Police Chief Ismaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam warned that the police will deal forcefully with any illegal gatherings in the streets and there will be no room for complaints.
After he sent the letter, the police were mobilized in Enqelab Square and surrounding areas of central Tehran to prevent rallies