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Riots in two Iran towns after incumbent MPs win

TEHRAN, Iran, February 19, 2000 (Reuters) - Riots broke out in two Iranian towns on Saturday when residents protested against the re- election of their incumbent members of parliament, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported. It said police used tear gas and shot into the air to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who hurled stones at the governor's office and attacked banks and state buildings in the southwestern town of Shush.

Protesters were angry about the re-election in Friday's parliamentary elections of their deputy, whom they accused of "vote-buying and bribery," IRNA said. It said 15 people were injured in clashes with the police.

In the town of Shadegan, also located in southwestern oil- rich Khuzestan province, protesters attacked public buildings and state-owned vehicles, before being dispersed by police, the agency said.

The demonstrators were also protesting against the re-election of their incumbent deputy.

The incidents were the first reports of violence in the elections which saw many incumbents, mostly conservatives, lose their seats in a surge by reformists backing President Mohammad Khatami.