Mr. Ahmadinejad’s campaign organized a huge rally in a prayer hall in central Tehran on Monday afternoon, where tens of thousands of chanting supporters gathered apparently in an effort to match the raucous outdoor rallies that are being held nightly by followers of Mir Hussein Moussavi, his leading challenger for the presidency.
But the president’s rally was overmatched in turn by a larger, simultaneous demonstration by Mr. Moussavi’s followers, who formed a human sea of people that blocked traffic for miles along one of Tehran’s main boulevards.
The rallies underscored the unusual passions being aroused by the campaign, in which the leading candidates have exchanged accusations that are extraordinarily fierce for Iranian politics. There have been scattered street clashes in recent days, but the police have generally not intervened, in part — analysts say — because they do not want to unleash protests by the unruly and mostly young crowds.
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