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Iran Security Forces Prevent Continuation Of Student Protests In Tehran

Students at Isfahan Industrial University protesting on January 15, 2020. Image from Twitter.
Students at Isfahan Industrial University protesting on January 15, 2020. Image from Twitter.

Iranian social media users on Wednesday reported that warning issued by intelligence and security forces and heavy riot police presence on the streets has forced students to call off planned rallies in Tehran on the fifth day of protests in the country.

Since early afternoon social media users posted pictures and videos of large groups of security forces and fully-geared riot police around the capital's major universities, describing it as "laying siege to universities". Later on they reported that under heavy pressure students have called off their planned rallies at Tehran and Amir Kabir universities.

Heavy riot police presence at Vali-Asr roundabout near Tehran University on 15 January. The Twitter post refers to the riot police as "Ninjas".

On the fifth day of protests, however, students at Isfahan's Industrial University held a "silent rally". The images posted on social media show them holding placards reading "176 plus 1500 [killed in the Ukrainian plane crash and November protests]. Denying it is a lie, not human error".

A video posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening shows students and Basij militia members chanting against each other at Sanandaj University in Kordestan Province and voices in the video taken in the dark imply the militia are beating the protesting students.

Meanwhile, groups of hardliner students gathered in several universities and protested freely. Social media users claim many of the participants in these rallies were not students and call their rallies organized attempts to overshadow student protests in the previous four days.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Wednesday admitted that the protesters are angry because they have been fed lies about the Revolutionary Guard's role in downing a Ukrainian passenger plane last week which killed all 176 onboard.