Friday, May 26, 2006

Riots in Tehran universities: 'we don't want nuclear energy'

Memri-Several media outlets in Iran reported, albeit in a restricted and censured fashion, that there has been rioting on several university campuses in Tehran for the past four days. The reformist Internet daily Rooz reported that over 500 members of riot-control units have besieged the Tehran University campus, and that there have been clashes between rioting students and Basij and police forces.

The riots broke out following a student protest over what appeared to be a purge of the academic faculty of Tehran University. This coincided with the marking of the "Second of Khordad," the day of the Persian month of Khordad on which Mohammad Khatami was first elected president of Iran (May 23, 1997).

During the riots, eight student leaders were arrested, and, according to eyewitnesses quoted in Rooz, 25 of those under siege in the campus were wounded, five of them severely. Eyewitnesses reported that students were chanting anti-regime slogans, such as "We don't want nuclear energy" and "Forget Palestine - think of us."

The eyewitnesses also reported that Iranian security forces fired live bullets, and that shots were fired at homes outside the university. One of the students told Rooz: "The university campus is on fire, raids are being conducted throughout the campus, and the students are in fear and anxiety... Gunfire is heard from all directions... There is blood everywhere." The university's telephone lines were reported to have been cut.

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