Iran General NewsIran makes arrests over new water fight attempt

Iran makes arrests over new water fight attempt

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AFP: Iranian police arrested “a handful of people” who wanted to engage in water fights at a park in central Tehran, deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said on Sunday.

TEHRAN, September 4, 2011 (AFP) – Iranian police arrested “a handful of people” who wanted to engage in water fights at a park in central Tehran, deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said on Sunday.

“A handful of people who wanted to challenge social norms and (engage) in water fights were arrested by the police on Friday” — the day the water fight was to be held — at Ab-o-Atash (Water and Fire) park in Tehran, Brigadier Radan told the Mehr news agency.

“The people who involve in such actions are either stupid or not respectful of the law,” Radan said. “The police will not allow them to achieve their goals … and will confront the main organisers” of such events.

In late July, several hundred youths took part in a huge water fight using plastic water pistols as well as bottled water at the same venue in heat-weary Tehran, arranging the event on Facebook and through mobile text messages.

Ten of them were arrested as photos of boys and girls in drenched clothing — some of the women with their mandatory hijabs askew — emerged on social networking websites and eventually made their way into the media to the anger of conservatives.

Morality police chief General Ahmad Rouzbahani warned then that the police would act forcefully against such events happening “in public places, or anywhere throughout the country.”

In early August, 17 boys and girls were arrested over a water fight at a seaside park in the southern city of Bandar Abbas, after engaging in what the provincial justice chief said was a “haram act” — one forbidden by Islam.

Radan said on Sunday that “there are other goals behind the water fights and a number of youths are being used” by the organisers of these events.

The authorities in the Islamic republic are wary of unofficial gatherings by young people, especially in large cities, over fears that they could turn into demonstrations.

The water fights were organised by text message or calls on Facebook, which was widely used by the reformist opposition movement to organise the mass protests that followed the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

More than 36,000 Facebook users had announced their intention to participate in Friday’s water fight, provoking a massive police presence in the park, according to reports available on the Internet.

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