On the first day of Khordad (May 22nd), protests by Azad University Tehran Central students turned violent during altercations with Basiji and security forces.
A few hundred students of the Faculty of Engineering at Azad University Central gathered to protest the results of the coup elections, the continued arrests and the wide spread expulsion of students from the university.
As per Bamdad News, beginning early this morning there was a strong military atmosphere at Azad University Tehran Central and both intelligent and paramilitary forces had an extensive presence on campus. In addition, the entrance to the University and surrounding streets were heavily controlled by anti riot police who were preventing many students from entering the university. At the same time, in an effort to safeguard the premises, more than 50 known student activists were denied entry to the university grounds.
As the day progressed and classes came to an end, the crowd began to assemble, and chants including “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein”, “Death to Dictator”, “We Support our brave students”and “All imprisoned students must be released” filled the air.
Students were attacked by Basiji and intelligence forces as they ended their protest with the famous song “Yareh Dabestanieh Man” (My Childhood School Mate) and a speech by one of their classmates.
As per reports received from the scene, it was at this time that security forces and intelligence officers from the Ministry of Intelligence inside the university premises began arresting a number of the students present.
It is worth mentioning that the afternoon classes at the Engineering Faculty at Tehran Central were canceled as a result of the conflicts and because so many students had been banned from entering the premises.
The exact number of students hurt and arrested is unclear as mobile phone access was cut off from one hour prior to the protests and at the time this report was published.
Currently, special security forces on motorcycles are circulating outside the Tehran Faculty of Engineering and it has been reported that in some cases they have attacked and beaten students.
This is not the first time that protests at the Engineering Faculty at Tehran University Azad have ended in violence, even though the head of the university Dr. Gozashti had promised to prevent such events from occurring again.
Students strongly believe that entry by plain clothes agents and interrogators from the Ministry of Intelligence would not be possible without cooperation by the head of the university. It is also their opinion that the heavy sentences, unprecedented student expulsions and the recent appointment of Dr. Eftekhari as the new head of the university is just another way to increase pressure on students and create a security filled atmosphere.
It is also worth mentioning that at the beginning of the school year the students at Azad University had already protested against the coup government. The third protest by the students at this university took place last year on Mehr 21st, 1388. It led to brutal attacks and the use of tear gas by Basiji and security forces in which many students were admitted to the hospital.
During the current academic year alone, more than 50 suspension and expulsion sentences have been issued to students at Azad University Tehran Central.