Despite police warnings against participating in December 7th protests, people and students organized gatherings all across the country. Countless numbers of them flooded the streets leading to Tehran University and Amir-Kabir University, which, according to the police, left them no choice but to react.
Reports indicate that, despite police blockades on all of the streets leading to Tehran University, starting at 10 AM, groups of people began to flood the streets to participate in the Student Day protests. The police and anti-riot forces who surrounded the areas around Tehran University and Enghelab Square dispersed people and did not let them to gather. The police forced the people onto other streets and prohibited them from gathering in front of Tehran University and in Enghelab Square. Meanwhile, members of the Ministry of Intelligence installed a huge banner in front of the University’s gate, blocking the view so that nobody could see what was happening inside.
The protesting people gathering on streets leading to Enghelab Square started chanting slogans against the regime’s key figures. They also disputed the results of the recent presidential elections. These protests, which soon attracted the police’s attention, resulted in clashes between the people and the police. In these clashes, people started to throw stones in response to the police’s beating them. Tear gas, electric batons, and paintballs were among the weapons the police employed to disperse these protesters. By burning paper and garbage containers, the people protected themselves against the tear gas.
The clashes between Basij militia forces and the students reached its height at Amir-Kabir University. For some hours, this university’s Vali-Asr Gate was the scene of Basiji’s throwing stones at the students. A number of students who had been trapped there were faced with the Basiji’s stones. Several of them were injured in this incident. This occurred while police and anti-riot forces were beating people in front of the Amir-Kabir University entrance gates. While these students were trapped between the two fighting groups, the police did nothing to protect them.
Widespread Arrests in Tehran
Reports tell of widespread arrests in Tehran. Witnesses say that five buses loaded with people were taken away in the direction of Vali-Asr St. and Enghlab Square. Several students, too, have been arrested because of the December 7th protests.
One of the student activists arrested was Majid Tavakoli, a member of the Amir-Kabir Islamic Society. He, who was one of the day’s speakers, was arrested by the joint effort of university security and plainclothes agents. He was also arrested during gatherings commemorating Bazargan, and spent three months in detention. After this, he was arrested again in the fake Amir-Kabir newsletter controversy and spent 15 months in prison.
Sohrab Karimi, a Kurdish student studying at Tehran University, was also arrested on this day. But these arrests did not stop there. In recent days, forums publishing news about Iranian students have reported many similar arrests. Though the official number of the arrested has been reported to be 200, witnesses in Evin Prison tell of almost 1,000 people detained. Several of these people are student activists who have been arrested by plainclothes agents.
Zahra Rahnavard Assaulted
Zahra Rahnavard, a professor at the College of Arts, was attacked by a group of females on the Tehran University campus. These attackers, who at first introduced themselves as her bodyguards, started fighting with her when she protested their actions. University security was able to save Rahnavard from their hands, as they were trying to physically attack her. Also, upon Rahnavard’s leaving the campus, some members of the Basij attacked her again and sprayed pepper gas in her face.
She finally was able to leave the scene with the help of university security guards. These attacks occurred at a time when the regime’s media has been orchestrating extensive attacks on this university professor. These attacks were especially heightened after she was selected as the third thinker of the year for 2009.
General Prosecutor’s Warning
While police violence against the peaceful protests of the people in the months following the elections has caused international condemnation, Mohsen Ezheii, the regime’s general prosecutor, has promised serious consequences for those arrested on December 7th.
In an interview with reporters he said: “The judicial system, police and intelligence officers have been employing patience to see what the enemy has in their pocket. But they won’t do this from this day on, since now things have become clearer for them”. Furthermore, he emphasized: “I announce it now that we will punish anybody who acts against people’s rights, their safety and the social order”. There threats were made while in the post-election protests at least 70 people were killed in clashes with plainclothes agents.
Protests Continue at Universities
Although it seemed that by the end of December 7th student protests had come to an end, yesterday all of the streets leading to Tehran University were surrounded by plainclothes agents. Students bearing their IDs were not allowed to enter the campus, while those showing Basij cards could enter. Yet, despite these circumstances, the protests of Tehran University students continued on December 8th, too. These students protested the regime’s violent reactions on December 7th.