Police, students clash in Tehran
Islamic militiamen clashed with thousands of students defying a ban on rallies in the Iranian capital on the anniversary of July 1999 student unrest. The violence broke out as security forces in anti-riot drive tried to disperse between 5,000 and 6,000 young people and others who gathered at Tehran University campus and in nearby streets.
In 16-Azar Street just east of the campus, riot police fired tear-gas rounds to disperse the demonstrators. Police and secret service agents as well as the Bassij militia were out in strength to enforce the ban declared Monday on all commemorations of the 1999 unrest sparked by a police raid on a student dormitory.
Witnesses told AFP that several people were beaten by the militia, before the crowds started to clear. Tension mounted with the arrival of far-right Hizbullah vigilante groups who positioned themselves in front of the university facing the crowds.
The vigilantes, led by Hassan Bakhshi, the father of four "martyrs" of the Iran-Iraq war, chanted slogans including: "Death to those who oppose the supreme leader's authority. Death to America."
In the streets around Enghelab (Revolution) Square in the heart of Tehran, groups of protesters chanted slogans calling on the police to defend them from the militiamen.
No serious incidents or injuries were reported or witnessed. Later Tuesday, anti-riot forces dispersed more than 1,000 people, mostly youths, who had gathered in Madar square in residential northern Tehran, AFP said.
The 1999 unrest, among the worst troubles in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, lasted several days after the police raided the dormitory to break up protests over the closure of a popular pro-reform newspaper. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)