INTRODUCTION: In Iran, 5,000 Armenians have had a demonstration broken up by police and revolutionary guards.
GV PAN Demonstrators with placards and banners
CU Sign "Turkish Embassy"
LV Demonstrators move away as police and revolutionary guards open fire PAN TO man assembling automatic rifle as colleague addresses demonstrators through loud hailer
SV PAN FROM Guard TO chanting crowd
SV Revolutionary guards climb into embassy compound as crowd chants (2 shots)
SV Armed policemen facing crowd
SV Policeman in compound puts on gas mask as demonstrators try to climb fence (2 shots)
SV PAN Demonstrators disperse as fire breaks out
LV PAN Tear gas shells explode among crowd which disperses (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Iran, 5,000 Armenians have had a demonstration broken up by police and revolutionary guards. When the demonstrators tried to storm the Turkish Embassy, police fired into the air and used gas to drive them back.
SYNOPSIS: The Armenians form a prominent minority in Iran. They took to the streets on April the 23rd to mark the anniversary of the massacre in 1915 of their countrymen in Eastern Turkey. The demonstration began peacefully enough, but outside the Turkish Embassy, tempers began to boil.
Many older demonstrators moved away as police and revolutionary guards fired into the air, but it soon became clear that some of the younger marchers were intent on storming the Turkish Embassy. Some threw stones at police, although there were no immediate reports of any casualties. However, it was later learned that two policemen were beaten up by demonstrators.
Calls from the revolutionary guards to the demonstrators to disperse were ignored. The crowd chanted slogans calling on Turkey and NATO to withdraw from the Armenian homeland, and denouncing the military regime in Ankara.
This demonstration was the second by Armenians in Teheran since the revolution in 1979. They were previously banned from holding marches.
The crowd would not break up, even when confronted by police and revolutionary guards.
The police were forced to use tear gas to stop some demonstrators entering the embassy.
Turkish diplomats in Teheran lodged protests over the demonstration; they claimed police protection was not good enough. According to Embassy sources, four Armenians entered the embassy compound, tore down a Turkish flag and burnt it. Demonstrators burned newspapers and curtain outside the embassy, which is near the site of the former British mission.
The six hour siege finally ended when police fired tear gas shells among the crowd.
Relations between Iran and Turkey cooled after the military coup in Turkey earlier this year. But Iran, fighting an expensive seven-month-old war against Iraq, agreed last Wednesday (22 April) to expand trade links with Turkey.