Monday, October 17, 2005

Protest and conflict at Najafabad University

Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
Excerpt from Student publication entitled BAZR

On Saturday, October 15th, our university was the arena for the protest by the students. This morning we wanted to enter the university from the same gate we always enter and the Guards prohibited us; they said that the entrance for girls has been separated from the entrance for the boys and therefore we must walk through the proper gate and by the way, boys are no longer permitted to wear short-sleeved shirts. Everyone got angry. It occurred to us that these characters are the bane of our existence not mention go ahead and separate the door; how can you stop us from crossing paths in the university hallways or in class where our rows are segregated...we are nonetheless all under one roof. Anyhow, we all entered and went to our respective classes.

At 11:30 AM a large group of boys and girls of the technical college gathered in the hallways. They all chanted in unison: "Shame on you Despots, release the Universities from your claws - Shame on you Despots, release the students from your claws." The University students were so enraged, they began to break windows. The now frightened guards stepped aside and began to survey and scrutinize the student activists.

The head of the guard unit came forward and told the students: "Keep it up and later you'll pay the price." This enflamed peoples' emotions even more; everyone booed him. Then people began to tear down the light fixtures and since the ceilings of that area of the university was artificial and flimsy, the entire hallways' ceiling came crashing down. The students then picked up the garbage cans, raising them over their heads, began to throw them toward the guards, shattering all the big windows nearby. The water coolers were ripped out of their places and dumped on the ground with water splashing all over the floor. Nothing could hold these students back and when the Dean came to calm the situation down, he was pushed to the back and his office was demolished as well. The only thing that could be heard was the shattering of glass everywhere and the constant chanting against the regime and their ruthless guards.

The female students were very active and both the boys and girls continued chanting in unison while attacking the guards. For the many students who had, over the recent years, been involved in the student uprisings, these scenes became reminiscent and therefore rejuvenated, galvanized and energized them.

Today (Sunday, Oct. 16th), the university was closed for immediate renovations and clean up so that no one gets wind of what turmoil took place there. They (the guards) will even go around to the houses of the activist students; if they are caught, we really need to be on the ball so that we can be there for the students.