Riot police raid Iran’s Sharif University after student protest

Students at Sharif University in Tehran had been demonstrating on the 16th day of protests after Mahsa Amini’s death.

Iran Protest
Protests in Iran have been ongoing since September 17, after a 22-year-old died after she was detained by the country's morality police [File: WANA (West Asia News Agency via Reuters]

Tehran, Iran – Several students have been arrested in a raid on a top university in Tehran by Iranian security forces as protests that began more than two weeks ago over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody continue.

Students were demonstrating inside the prestigious Sharif University of Technology in the capital on Sunday afternoon when riot police surrounded the university for several hours, trapping the students and leaving several injured, before arresting a number of them in the latest crackdown on protesters, according to an official university students’ association and reports on local outlets.

Demonstrations have been ongoing in universities in Tehran and across the country since they began on September 17 in Saqqez, Amini’s home town in the western province of Kurdistan. She died on September 16 after being arrested days earlier by Iran’s morality police, who had determined that she was not following Iran’s “modest” dress code rules.

The state-run IRNA news website said no one was killed during the unrest at Sharif University, which also saw hundreds – including the concerned families of students stuck inside – flock to the streets surrounding the campus.

The campus was eventually cleared, but surrounding streets remained busy until after midnight. After Sunday’s events, Sharif University announced that all classes would be held online until further notice.

Saturday and Sunday also saw demonstrations in other major universities in Tehran and cities like Shiraz, Mashhad and Sanandaj.

In some cities, including Tehran, protests spilled into the streets as well.

The protests have continued despite severe internet restrictions that have blocked access to all social media platforms and intensify from the afternoon to midnight each day.

On Saturday, Iranians living abroad said they had organised demonstrations in more than 150 cities across the globe, with thousands attending.

Dozens of people have been killed during the protests in Iran, and an unknown number arrested. No official tallies have been released so far.

Protesters have demanded an end to the dress code imposed on women in Iran, something the Iranian government has rejected.

Iranian authorities have attempted to cast the unrest as “riots” rather than “protests” and have said foreign powers and Kurdish secessionist movements have incited unrest.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has attacked what it says are bases operated by Kurdish separatist groups situated in Iraq, most notably in a September 28 attack that killed at least 13 people.

Lawmakers on Sunday chanted “Thank you, police” and “Down with Israel” in a televised session of parliament, expressing their support for the establishment and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who spoke for the first time on the protests on Monday, saying that he supported Iran’s security forces.

Lawmakers have also invited Amini’s family to go to the parliament and discuss the results of an investigation into her death that is expected to yield its final results within days.

Amini’s family have refuted a claim by authorities that she was not beaten and that her death of an apparent stroke in police custody was caused by pre-existing conditions.

Their lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told the Etemad newspaper in an interview published on Sunday that officers who arrested her were equipped with body cameras, a claim Tehran’s police force has rejected.

Source: Al Jazeera