Iranian students marked December 7, the Student Day, with protests and gatherings in a number of universities across the country.
They also disrupted official ceremonies held to divert attention from the genuine purpose of the Student Day.
At Tehran University, hundreds of students staged a demonstration and chanted against government plunder under the pretext of privatization of the university. They chanted, “We do not want private universities”; they also declared their opposition to the repressive state in the university, chanting, “University is not a garrison.” They also held placards, protesting filtering of the internet.
At Tehran’s prestigious Sharif Industrial University, students disrupted the official gathering featuring Hassan Rouhani, the mullahs’ president. Despite heavy security measures and allowing only a selected group of students into the auditorium, one of the students held up a placard reading, “No to executions.” Another group of students wore violet tapes on their mouths as a sign of protest to undelivered promises of Rouhani on freedom of expression. Other students accused him as acting worse than Ahmadinejad.
Outside Rouhani’s meeting, thousands of students were chanting against government policies so loud, that their voice disrupted the meeting and interrupted Rouhani’s speech.
In Najafabad, Isfahan, thousands of students held a rally chanting the students’ classic slogan of “Student dies but will not succumb.” They also demanded freedom of imprisoned students.
At Elm-o San’at (Science and Industry) University in Tehran, students disrupted meetings held by both government factions and chanted, “No to false reforms”, “Down with tyranny”, “Free Imprisoned Students”, etc. They also sang the famous anthem of Yar-e Dabestani (My school comrade) in memory of Kianoush Asa, an outspoken chemical engineering student from this university who was kidnapped and killed during the 2009 uprising by intelligence agents, and vowed to continue in his footsteps.
Students also staged rallies or clashed with security guards in Ahwaz and South Tehran universities. At Tehran’s Alameh University, state-backed agents used pepper spray to disperse students.
The universities of Qazvin, Qom, Hamedan, etc. were closed down to prevent student gatherings on December 7, just as in Tehran the streets leading to Tehran and Sharif universities were placed under military siege where no pedestrians were allowed to pass and cars were checked at various checkpoints.
December 7 marks the Students Day in Iran. It is the anniversary of the deaths of three students who protested Shah’s repressive and police state in 1953 at Tehran University. They were killed by the university guards. Since then, December 7 is the day when students across the country protest government’s repressive measures and demand freedom. Often, the regime prevents student ceremonies on this day but it only fuels students’ fury.
Some 60 per cent of university admissions each year are made up of young women who open their way into universities and colleges across the country despite numerous restrictions imposed on them with regards to fields of study, clothing and segregation in classes and on campuses.