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Speaker at Tehran rally demands: ‘The Zionist company of Shell should be expelled from Iran’

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An Iranian holds up a religious flag while attending a protest in front of the Dutch embassy in northern Tehran April 5, 2008. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Saturday April 5, 2008

thestaronline: Iran rally against Dutch film draws small crowd

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian students protesting against a film critical of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, found themselves outnumbered by police and press outside the Dutch embassy on Saturday.

Police pushed the protesters back after they threw three or four eggs and a couple of small stones.

The small, largely peaceful crowd that gathered to protest over the video by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders was in contrast to the violent protests at the Danish embassy in 2006 after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad were published in Europe.

A Reuters reporter estimated the number of demonstrators at about 40, compared with three times as many police protecting the embassy.

The university students called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador and chanted other slogans.

One speaker at the rally demanded oil group Royal Dutch Shell be thrown out of the world’s fourth-largest crude producer. “The Zionist company of Shell should be expelled from Iran,” he told the crowd.

Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party in the Netherlands, launched his short video on the Internet last month, drawing condemnation from Muslim nations including Iran and Indonesia.

More than 50 people were killed in riots in Asia, the Middle East and Africa in 2006 that followed the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.

In Tehran, protesters threw petrol bombs at the Danish embassy and tried to break into the compound.

Titled “fitna” or “strife” in Arabic, Wilders’ film urges Muslims to tear out “hate-filled” verses from the Koran, mixing images of bombings with quotations from Islam’s holy book.

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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