Thousands of Iranians took part in an open-air demonstration in Teheran on December 6 to mark Ashura - one of the holiest dates in the Islamic calendar.
TV PAN Crowds at anniversary rally
SVs PAN Crowds waving fists and chanting (4 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV Women in black robes at rally
TV Crowds chanting and waving fists
TV Whole scene of crowds
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Background: Thousands of Iranians took part in an open-air demonstration in Teheran on December 6 to mark Ashura - one of the holiest dates in the Islamic calendar. The date, the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic Calendar, commemorates the martyrdom of Iman Hussain, a grandson of the prophet Mohammad, in a battle about 1,400 years ago with the forces of a Moslem ruler. Processions and ceremonies were held throughout the country, but in Teheran, up to half a million people gathered in Hussain Square in a demonstrative ceremony of remembrance. Many people beat their chests and heads, and some performed self-flagellation, considered a symbol of self-purification for the glory of Islam. Portraits of the Ayatollah Khomeini were held aloft and slogans were chanted in support of the Iranian ruler. The feast has special reference for the Shi'ite Moslems since it derives from disputes early in the history of the faith when they were engaged in prolonged conflict with the majority Sunnis. To the Shi'ites, Hussain was the rightful successor to Mohammad. He was killed in the year 61 Hirji on the Moslem Calendar in what is now Iraq after the battle between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis.