To protest against the severe sentences passed against three Amir Kabir University student activists; the barring of a number of students from that university and other universities in Tehran from their studies; the sacking of independent lecturers; the permanent or temporary banning of students’ independent journals and creating a police atmosphere at universities; today, Tuesday 30 October, a gathering took place at the Allameh Tabatabai Communication Sciences and Sociology College in Tehran.
Even before the gathering had begun the police atmosphere reigned inside and outside the University. Initially a group of uniformed security and plain-clothes officers had parked their vehicles a short distance from the College. With such a show of force in front of the college, and the park opposite it, they intended to intimidate the students and prevent their gathering from spreading to outside the College.
In co-ordination with the security forces and the basij [pro-regime mobilization force] the College’s security guards attempted to create such a [police] atmosphere. Entry into the University was strictly controlled and students from other Tehran universities were prevented from entering.
A bit later than the arranged time, although some of the students had still not been able to enter the College, the gathering began with the students [already] present. There were scuffles with the College’s security guards. The students immediately reacted by chanting slogans. Slogans like “Pinochet, Pinochet, Iran will not become like Chile”, “Free arrested students”, “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the agent of discrimination and corruption” were booming in the University street.
At this time the security forces’ presence outside the University changed from its low profile ‘appearance’ before the gathering turned into the official presence of security and basij forces. The traffic in the street became heavy and, in order to prevent people from knowing what was happening in the University, the [security] officers tried to get traffic flowing. At this time, when the crowd had not reached the University gate, they tried to clear the park facing the College and the pavement from those they did not consider as ‘one of us’.
In a situation when the students were busy gathering and establishing a free tribune, the security forces began arresting students who reached the ceremony late. And shouts of “leave me alone, why are you grabbing me” by one of the students, although it attracted the attention of the passers-by, did not prevent his arrest.
After the news of arrests outside the University spread, those present at the free tribune of the University, began moving towards the gate on University Street and began chanting slogans for the release of the arrested students and against the repressive forces.
The students directed slogans like “No nation has seen a more disgraceful police force”, “Basiji get lost”, “Free the arrested students”, and “We don’t want a government of force, we don’t want a mercenary police”, at the police present in front of the University. Despite the growing number of security forces’ personnel since the start of the gathering, the police who could not control the whole street together with the presence of the students in front of the University gate. So they turned their attention from the street and pavement and car park towards the University gate. The students’ speeches on the necessity of unity were cheered and supported by those present.
The presence of basiji forces and their aggression towards the ranks of students drew the response, “basiji get lost”. This enraged the basiji and brought about their further attacks.
Then the students again entered the University campus. With slogans calling for unity, they called on the lecturers to support them and their demands. Because of the situation at the University, and the efforts of the students, lectures at the University were also cancelled. At this time the security forces, more calmly [than before] because the students were moving away from the University street gate, dispersed all those present in front of the University and the pavement leading to it.
The gathering inside the University ended with protests and demands for the immunity for students from leaving the University campus. With the appropriate co-ordination for exiting the University under such conditions, despite the security situation of University Street, the students reduced the likelihood of arrests to the lowest level possible by leaving in groups of several people.
A day later all students, with the exception of Arman Sedaghati and Maziar Samiee, were released.
Report by the Militaant’s correspondents.
Translated by Militaant, journal of revolutionary socialist youth in Iran.