london — The third week of nationwide protests in Iran turned violent on Sunday when security forces surrounded Sharif University, a prominent university in the country, and closed the main gates of the facility where hundreds of students were protest.
The violent confrontation led to arrests and injuries, according to eyewitnesses who shared their accounts on social media sites such as Vahid Online.
The country was rocked by unrest after the suspicious death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in the custody of the morality police, who arrest women for not wearing the hijab properly. Soon, however, protests went beyond criticism of the morality police and turned into a movement against the Islamic Republic, with slogans demanding the overthrow of the regime.
Reports from inside Sharif University on Sunday night Put down the atmosphere as “terrible.” There were many accounts of students being trapped inside the university and told to leave the premises through a parking garage. However, when they got there, the students found themselves surrounded by the guards who were waiting to arrest them, the Islamic Society of Sharif University reported. According to the association the students were gassing and shooting with pellet guns, paintballs and rubber bullets.
In his first comments about the protests since they began on September 17, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the US and Israel for the unrest.
“The incident that happened in which a young girl died was a bitter one. Our hearts were also broken,” he said on Saturday at a graduation ceremony for the country’s armed forces.
Accusing protesters of making the streets “unsafe” by setting fire to cars and banks, he said people should wait for the results of the “investigation”.
“I say clearly that the riot is designed by America, the Zionist regime and those on their payroll,” Khamenei said, alleging that some of the protesters have links to the country’s former monarch or some of his groups opposition. According to Iran’s penal system, such charges can put people behind bars for years or even put them at risk of execution.
According to Iran Human Rights, the death toll from Sunday’s protests was 133, of which 40 were killed in an attack in the southeastern city of Zahedan on September 30.
State-linked media, however, confirmed only 19 of the casualties in Zahedan and blamed “separatists” for the attacks in the southeast.
Sharif University Islamic Students Association he said invitingly “students and professors of universities across the country to close their classes as a sign of solidarity with the professors and students of Sharif University.”
Many university students received the call for the strike which continued to protest despite the crackdown on the Sharif University protests.
While small business owners, teachers and some labor associations announced other strikes, the excessive violence against university students raised concerns.
The Coordinating Council of the Teachers’ Cultural Associations issued the first open call for a strike on 26 September. The Council strongly condemned the violent action taken by the state against protesters, especially students, and called on all working and retired educators. stand with the protesters.
“Countrywide strikes put psychological pressure on the repressive forces to realize that many people agree with the protesters,” a Health Ministry employee told ABC News. He asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution.
“I hope people realize that they would be better off meeting in the long run because nothing is as important as togetherness as unity,” he said.