Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 20:44 UK

Iran witnesses: Neda memorial


Mobile phone footage of people chanting at the cemetery on 30 July

Three Iranians describe police attempts to break up demonstrations at a cemetery in Tehran, 40 days after the death of Neda Agha-Soltan - the young woman who has become a symbol of the opposition cause in Iran.

Ahmed, Tehran, via telephone

I was at the memorial event for Neda at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi [defeated presidential candidate and opposition figurehead] arrived at the start, at about 1615, but I only stayed for 10 minutes because the police were dispersing the crowds and made me leave.

Cameramen were filming the crowds directly, spying on who was there
Ahmed, Tehran

The police were attacking people with batons and they arrested lots of people and took them away in their cars.

I think there were about 3,000 people there and more were arriving on the Metro as I was leaving. They thought Mousavi would be there, but he had already left.

One important thing I must mention: I saw about seven or eight cameramen in certain vantage points and bridges around the cemetery. They were filming the crowds directly with professional cameras.

I am sure they were official cameramen, spying on who was there.

People were chanting "Death to the dictators", "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein", [one of the Mousavi supporters' key chants] and reciting Fatehe loudly [two verses from the Koran which are traditionally recited above the grave of the deceased].

The graves of Sohrab Arabi [a teenager killed during the protests] and Neda were quite close by. People surrounded both of their graves.

I didn't see Mr [Mehdi] Karroubi [another opposition figure] there, but I saw several other clerics who were talking to people, ordinary people there.

Daryaa, Tehran, via email

I got to the cemetery at about 1615 and went to Neda's tomb to see her family and to pray, but the police were trying to scatter us.

The crowds were bigger than I expected. The weather was so hot and the cemetery is not easy to get to. I would say there were about two or three hundred police there.

Neda's relatives asked us to be silent and to leave immediately, so I went to the tombs of Sohrab Arabi and Ashkan Sohrab [two teenagers killed during protests]. People were standing by their graves praying loudly.

We should keep protesting if we really believe this government is illegal
Daryaa, Tehran

I didn't see Mr Mousavi. I heard that he was coming but that the police hadn't let him out of his car.

I saw his wife, Ms Rahnavard, and I asked her about the demonstration at Mosala afterwards in the north of the city, but she didn't know about it.

When Ms Rahnavard arrived, police tried to keep us away from her. Two men were protecting her from police, who were trying to scare us and disperse the crowds, but we stayed put.

Finally they started attacking us and we escaped to a different part of the cemetery, where we started chanting.

It is becoming dangerous to protest, but I think we should keep doing it if we really believe this government is illegal and if we value the blood of Neda and our other martyrs.

Email sent to BBC Persian

The riot police arrived at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery at about 1615, but they didn't act against the crowds at first.

At about 1650, the forces charged towards the crowds and tried to push them back, but the crowds started chanting slogans. They were inviting the forces to help and work with the people - and they were giving flowers to the policemen.

Then a cleric, Hadi Ghaffouri, arrived and the crowds followed him towards the northern end of the road.

I went towards the war martyrs' part of the cemetery, where the Basijis and Hezbollah guards were standing.

I saw them hitting an old cleric with a baton, and then one of the Basijis ordered some other Basijis on motorbikes to head towards section 257 of the cemetery [where Neda Agha-Soltan is buried].

Then I had to go back to Tehran as I had work to do.

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