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Police readying for ancient Feast of Fire
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posted March 13, 2001 09:49
TEHRAN, March 12 (AFP) - Police were mobilising Monday ahead of the annual
Feast of Fire celebration, rooted in ancient Zoroastrianism and marked by public bonfires.
During the festivities -- held on the last Tuesday eve before the Iranian New Year, which falls on March 20 -- people leap over fires to 'purify' themselves and banish evil spirits ahead of the year to come.
Tehran police chief Mohsen Ansari, cited by state radio, said those found making firecrackers and other explosive devices would be arrested as authorities try to cut down on potential injuries.
But unlike previous years, small fireworks have been openly available on street corners throughout the Iranian capital.
State television said Monday that 17 young people have been injured in recent weeks in explosives-related incidents.
The Shiite Muslim clergy which has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution remains opposed to the popular festival, which it deems superstitious and anti-Islamic.
All times are PT (US)
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