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Iranian students clash at a Tehran university as nationwide protests persist

Some female students enter men’s dining hall after removing their hijabs, leading other students to protest the ‘insults and desecration that occurred at the university’

Iranian students hold a sit-in protest at Tehran University, October 23, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Iranian students hold a sit-in protest at Tehran University, October 23, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

TEHRAN, Iran — Groups of Iranian students clashed on Sunday at a leading university in the capital Tehran, local media reported, amid weeks-long nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini.

The Islamic Republic has been gripped by demonstrations triggered by the death of the 22-year-old Amini on September 16 after her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly among demonstrators, but also among the security forces, and hundreds of protesters have been arrested.

Classes at Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology were suspended and moved online earlier this month following clashes between protesting students and security forces.

Tasnim news agency reported that when classes resumed on Saturday, “a number of female students entered the men’s dining hall after removing their hijabs,” breaching Iran’s rules on gender segregation in some public spaces and mandatory headscarves for women.

On Sunday, a group of students “held a rally… protesting against the insults and desecration that had occurred at the university,” Tasnim said.

The students, waving the Iranian flag, called on the university’s administration “to deal with lawlessness and violation of norms” on its campus, the report added.

A separate group of students “chanted vulgar slogans, broke the door and windows of the dining hall and threw them towards the students inside,” Tasnim said, adding that “some students and university security personnel” were injured.

The news agency published a video purportedly showing students kicking the door, as others were blocking it from inside the dining hall.

Students banned

The university said on Sunday that it had barred entry to “a small number of students” over their role in “creating an uneasy atmosphere,” local media reported.

The students were “temporarily banned from attending the university for their own benefit and for the benefit of the university,” Shargh newspaper quoted the statement as saying.

On October 2, riot police confronted about 200 students who had gathered at Sharif University and chanted slogans against the authorities, Mehr news agency reported.

The forces used tear gas and paintballs, Mehr said, adding that officers carried weapons that shoot non-lethal steel pellets.

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi said on Saturday that protests in universities and elsewhere have subsided.

“There are various gatherings in some universities, which are decreasing every day, and the riots are going through their final days,” state news agency IRNA quoted Mirahmadi as saying.

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