Iran students vent fury over campus raid

THOUSANDS OF Iranian students took to the streets of Tehran yesterday, demanding the execution of a police chief seen as being in league with the country's hardline Islamic establishment.

At least 10,000 joined the protest, triggered by a police raid on a student dormitory last Friday which resulted in three reported deaths, 20 students being taken to hospital and about 1,000 arrests.

At the same time, university deans and other academic staff announced a sit-in on the campus today as a gesture of "hatred towards the tragic and bloody incident" of last Friday. The university's chancellor resigned in protest against the police actions.

The demonstrations are seen as the biggest test of government authority since the 1979 revolution, which brought down the monarchy. They take place against a backdrop of worsening tension between the country's reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, and Islamic hardliners loyal to the country's religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Making clear his own sympathies for the students, President Khatami expressed "deep regret" over the raid on the university, calling it an "ugly and bitter incident".

Students turned on police cars that tried to block their way to the city centre. "I am going to kill my brothers' murderers," they chanted. "Either Islam and the law, or another revolution." Drivers caught up in the protest sounded their horns in support of the students, while local residents offered them iced water to counter the summer heat.

Although the students shouted slogans in support of the embattled Iranian president, he may feel embarrassed by their demands for him to directly confront the religious establishment. The students' principal demands are for the return to the news-stands of a banned pro-Khatami newspaper, Salam, the abolition of press censorship laws adopted by the hardline parliament last week, and an end to panels of clerics vetting election candidates.

They also want the removal and punishment of the police chief, Hedayat Lotfian, an ally of Ayatollah Khamenei.

A session of the National Security Council chaired by the president on Saturday night promised to investigate the raid and sack the police official who ordered the assault, but made no mention of sacking the police chief.

In a sign that protests may be spreading across the country, students were reported to be holding sit-ins and protests in the university cities of Mashhad and Isfahan.

About 1,000 students also rallied in the northern city of Rasht, and demonstrators gathered in the north-western city of Tabriz.

Most worryingly for the Ayatollah, there were reports from the holy city of Qom that clergy had also come out in support of the students, closing lectures in protest against the events in Tehran university.

Iranian journalists said they would go on strike tomorrow to protest against the closure of Salam. The strike would in effect close down all the main national dailies.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map