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Iranian Universities Under Siege

By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online

University Classes Canceled in Tehran, Mashhad, and Mazandaran

Iranian universities are a stronghold of the opposition movement
file photo from a protest rally in Tehran University on December 12, 2009

On Satuarday, Iranian university campuses were filled with police and security forces as student groups called for a day of protests. Despite the heavy security presence, classes were canceled in university campuses across Tehran, Mashhad, and Mazandaran.

At the Tehran Polytechnic University, some student activists who had participated in previous protests were not allowed to enter the campus.

Reports from the Mazandaran University also pointed to heavy police and security presence. Some student activists there were threatened that they would face harsh consequences if the participated in any protests.

Several student organizations reported that, as some classes were canceled at the Tehran University, campus security forces were monitoring traffic and had created a security blanket to intimidate the would-be protesters. Eyewitnesses report that plain-clothes security forces were widely present in areas inside and surrounding the Tehran University campus.

Reports from Isfahan University noted that security forces were involved in clashes and had beaten several of the students. Campus security officers were monitoring traffic across campus, checking some students' identification cards and detaining others at the campus security offices.

More than forty universities had released statements in support of yesterday's nationwide protests, including Tehran, Polytechnic, Allame Tabatabei, Mazandaran, Gilan, Arak, Yazd, and Hamedan universities.

After the statements were released, university disciplinary committees prepared lists of activist students and threatened them with harsh disciplinary and judicial measures if they took part in any protests.

The coordination committee of the Rahe Sabz Omid (Green Path of Hope) also invited university students across the country to take part in the protests: "The coordination committee of the Rahe Sabz Omid denounces the suppression of universities and other actions that threaten the sanctity and academic excellence of universities and other institutions of higher learning. It supports the peaceful and grassroots efforts of students and hereby invites the academic community to participate in this expression of a peaceful, civil protest."

... Payvand News - 05/17/11 ... --

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