Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Demonstrations Rock Tehran Universities

Turkish Press:
Two of the Iranian capital's main universities have been rocked by overnight protests and clashes between students and police, press reports said.

Some 40 police were lightly injured by stone throwing in front of the Tehran University dormitories, Tehran's police chief, General Morteza Talaie, told the official news agency IRNA.

Sources contacted by AFP said the protests were against the changing of university heads and the forced retirement of some professors.

But General Talaie said Tuesday night's unrest was "provoked by 20 or 30 supposed students joined by thugs from outside the university". He said police responded with "tolerance and restraint" and arrested no students.

"These people had their faces covered, but some of them have been identified," the general said. READ MORE

Tehran University was the scene of violent clashes in 1999, when students protested over the closure of a pro-reform newspaper and the subsequent intervention by Islamist militiamen from the Basij force.

Another university in Tehran was also reported to have seen protests late on Tuesday.

Students at the Amir Kabir University, one of the country's most prestigious technical colleges, demostrated against "the intervention of Basij in elections" for members of the Islamic Student Association -- one of the few remaining pro-reform groups still operating on campus.

The student news agency ISNA said protestors shouted slogans including "we don't want the Islam of the Taliban" and "death to reactionaries and dictatorship."