Iranian university students launched protests against the country’s rulers on Saturday, giving new momentum to the anti-regime protests which have been going on for two weeks despite an intensification of the Islamic republic’s crackdown.
As the new academic year officially began, students at the capital’s prestigious Tehran University and other demonstrators in nearby streets chanted slogans while riot police patrolled on motorcycles, shooting tear gas and urging the crowd to disperse, eyewitnesses said.
Universities in other major cities such as Mashhad in the north-east, Tabriz in the north-west, Kerman in the south and Yazd as well as Isfahan in central Iran, also held protests according to videos posted on social media.
“The clergy should get lost,” chanted people in central Tehran. “We don’t want the Islamic republic,” students inside Tehran University said.
“Students at universities are surely giving the protests a new energy as the youth can create synergies when they get together,” said Saeed Laylaz, a reformist analyst. “This could mean protests will continue for now.”
The wave of protests began in mid-September after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman from the northwestern town of Saqqez, died while in the custody of the morality police. She was detained in a park in Tehran for allegedly breaching the obligatory Islamic dress code.
Her tragic death has rocked Iran, triggering the biggest anti-regime protests since 2019, when a rise in fuel prices caused unrest.
Officials have sought to convince Iranians that her death was probably caused by underlying diseases rather than punishment in detention.
Saturday’s escalation came after several days when the protests subsided. Protests expanded in the evening in various neighbourhoods in Tehran and other cities. Demonstrators have also urged businesses and shops to shut and help stage a general strike across the country. Shopkeepers in Vahdat-e Eslami, in southern Tehran, were…
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