On the third week of the new academic year in Iran, thousands of students from the main campus of Azad University in Tehran held several peaceful demonstrations protesting the coup government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the demonstrations that were attacked by Basiji and plain-clothes agents, students changed anti-government slogans protesting the conditions prevalent in the country and in the universities, while also insisting on their support of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.
Since the demonstrations, the streets leading up to the main campus were taken over by security agents and many students were denied entry into the main campus and its buildings.
This new crackdown and suppressive atmosphere came about when last Tuesday some two thousand students held a demonstration which was disrupted by force by Basiji and plain clothes security agents leading to violence. At least 10 students were reported to have been injured in the clashes and some sources reported that at least one student had been detained and taken away to the small office belonging to the representative of Iran's supreme leader on the campus.
From the reports on these incidents, it appears that students began to protest and engage in pro Mousavi and Karoubi chants when over 20 of other students who had taken part in the post-election protests against the coup government were called in by the university security office and the president of the institution. Students also protested the heavy presence of security and plainclothes agents on campuses this year following the massive post-election protests.
On the second gathering that began on Monday Azad University students called for the release of Dr Fiaz Zahedi, a university professor who has been in detention since September 16, 2009. Students also vowed to hold more rallies if their calls were not met.
On Tuesday, the two thousand students who had gathered at Azad were immediately surrounded by Basij and plain clothes security agents who used tear gas and pepper mint gas to disperse them. These students held placards and posters of the leaders of Iran's Green Movement and chanted anti government slogans, and also those against the conditions at the country's universities. They also thanked the leader of the Etemad Melli party led by its leader Mehdi Karoubi for his exposes of the recent crimes, particularly the rapes committed at Kahrizak detention center. As students continued their calls, security agents first shut the gates of the campus on the pretext that students wanted to go out and continue their protests in the streets of the city, and then used tear gas on the students.
Before dispersing, these students called on the students across the country to remain active to prevent the imposed security atmosphere on some campuses to expand to all universities.
Following these clashes, reformist leaders have raised a question at the national level that why are Basij university students allowed to bring in tear and peppermint gas to university campuses. These sources also said that the recent attacks on students was the result of the announcement by the head of the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that Basij did not need to wait for orders from its superiors to confront student protests.
Following the post election protests, senior military leaders supporting Ahmadinejad, which includes the IRGC, Basij and even the police, have repeatedly threatened students with violent response should they hold any protests.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
by: saeed valadbaygi at 8:21 AM