Scores of dervishes and other demonstrators protested outside Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, while anti-riot forces were lined up surrounding them, on Tuesday afternoon and well into the night.
The dervishes, of Gonabadi denomination, started protests eleven days ago, demanding the release of their fellow Dervishes; Kasra Nouri,Mohammad Reza Darvishi, Mohammad Sharifi Moqaddam and Fa’iza Abdipour.
Two of the detainees, Mr. Sharifi Moqaddam and Ms. Fa’iza Abdipour were released late, Monday night, January 8.
However, Dervish supporters continued their protest on Tuesday, with families of other protesters joining them.
In videos received by Radio Farda, the protesters were shouting, demanding the release of dervishes and detained students.
Finally, late in the nightt, the remaining two dervishes were also released, in small victory for protesters, after tense confrontation with riot police.
In an interview with Radio Farda’s Mahtab Vahidi-Rad, one of the managers of “Majzooban-i Noor” (Spellbound by Light) Gonabadi dervishes’ website, Reza Entessari says, “There are nearly eighty dervishes present at the sit-in, demanding unconditional release of their fellows. The four were arrested while visiting the website admin at Day hospital in Tehran”.
There were many others in front of Evin sympathizing with the dervishes, while trying to receive information concerning their loved ones who have disappeared since protests against broke out on December 28 in Shi’ites’ holy city of Mashhad and swiftly spread to many other cities all over Iran.
The protests that began with slogans against high prices quickly turned to a movement against the Islamic Republic, calling “Death to Khamenei” and praising the founder of Iran’s Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah.
The head of judiciary based in Evin had proposed to free the dervishes provided receiving pay slips as bail.
“The offer was categorically rejected”, Reza Entessari said, adding, “Our fellows have not committed any crime and releasing them on bail practically means admitting their crime”.
Meanwhile, the commander of police called in the [anti-riot] “guards” to disperse the protesters.
Nevertheless, protesters have stood firm, so far.
“We told the commander that we are here for being jailed.” Entessari said.
“He threatened to arrest us and take us to our comrades behind bars but, his promise was never fulfilled. Instead, he called the guards in which means clash and confrontation” said one of the protesters in a video clip from the location.
“Therefore, we asked the commander to order the guards to courageously beat and drag us into the prison. Otherwise, the presence of the guards does not make any sense”, he added.
In the end, the authorities seemed to have preferred quelling the protes rather than risking further violent incidents.