Iranian police violently dispersed a crowd outside Tehran University and arrested some 70 people after demonstrating on-campus students called for the nation's judicial chief to resign.
About 2,000 people gathered on Enqelab (Revolution) Avenue outside the campus where police had formed a barrier of buses to block views of students protesting inside.
On campus, roughly 3,000 students authorized to hold a rally on university grounds to mark National Student Day also protested the hardline judiciary's death sentence against dissident academic Hashem Aghajari.
After calling for the resignation of judiciary chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, whom they blame for the harsh sentence, students urged those in the street to "come and join us". Some in the street shouted "free political prisoners" in solidarity with the students, while others showed up out of curiosity.
In mid-afternoon, the situation degenerated when students hurled rocks at Islamic hardliners gathered outside the gates and took aim at the buses, breaking some windows.
According to AFP, about 2,000 police and anti-riot forces deployed around the campus then violently dispersed the off-campus crowd with truncheons and tear gas.
Some 60 to 70 people were detained during the intervention, but very few were students, interior ministry official Ali Taala was quoted by the student news agency ISNA as saying.
ISNA added that one of its photographers was arrested in the melee.
State television later aired images of the students and clashes outside the university in the first such broadcast since pro-Aghajari protests began on November 9, followed by past speeches of supreme leader Ali Khamenei saying Iran's enemies have tried to mobilize students against the Islamic revolution, but have always failed. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )