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Martial Law

Information about Martial Law

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On September 7, 1978, in response to public demonstrations protesting the perceived government involvement in the death of the son of Ayatollah Khomeini, Mostafa Khomeini, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi appointed Chief of Army Staff General Gholam Ali Oveisi as the military governor of the capital city of Tehran. On September 8, the government effectively declared martial law on the capital along with several other cities throughout the country, after which further protests erupted that lead to the army opening fire on a group of protesters in Tehran's Jaleh Square on the same day. Estimates on the number of casualties vary; However, according to Iranian human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi, the number of people killed was 88 of which 64 were gunned down in Jaleh Square. The day is often referred to as Black Friday. Unable to control the unrest, the Shah dissolved the civil government headed by Prime Minister Jafar Sharif-Emami on November 6 and appointed General Gholam Reza Azhari as the prime minister whom ultimately failed in his efforts to restore order to the country. As he was preparing to leave the country, the Shah dissolved the military government and appointed Shapour Bakhtiar, a reformist critic of his rule, as the new prime minister on January 4, 1979. Bakhtiar's government fell on February 11 and gave rise to the Islamic Republic and the creation of a new constitution.