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Updates: 16 Azar

by TARA MAHTAFAR,

07 Dec 2009 20:206 Comments

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New slogans chanted in Student's Day protests:

Witnesses told Tehran Bureau that slogans chanted at protests today were notably radicalized and emboldened, targeting the Supreme Leader, the Basij, and the regime with unprecedented directness -- and escalating in intensity far beyond slogans of past protests which had focused on the post-election vote crisis and the illegitimacy of Ahmadinejad's administration.

Radical chants targeting Iran's Supreme Leader:

* "Khamenei should know, his downfall is near!" [Khamenei bedune/ be zoodi sar negoone]
* "Our curse, our shame, our incompetent leader!" [Nang ma, nang ma/ Rahbar aldang ma]
* "We're not [like] the people of Kufa/ to stand behind Yazid [i.e., a tyrant]" [Ma ahle Kufeh nistim/ poshte Yazid beistim]

Taunting chants addressed to the Basij:

* "Get lost, mercenary!" [Mozdoor, boro gomsho]
* "Basiji go home/ no free meal today!" [Basiji boro khune, sham nemidim]
* "What happened to the oil money?/ it was spent on the Basiji!" [Pool naft che shode/ kharje Basiji shode]

Chants expressing escalated demands far beyond original vote dispute:

* "The cry of our nation: politics is separate from religion!" [shoar-e mellat-e ma/ din az siasat joda]
* "This government is Fascist/ it must stop at some point" [In dolat Fascist-e/ ye ja bayad beisteh]

***

Both the Gooya and Fararu news websites (both credible in the past), are reporting that Basij and plainclothes forces attacked student protesters at Abu Ali Sina University in the city of Hamedan, leaving several injured. According to the reports, members of these forces threw a female student from an upstairs window at the Faculty of Science building. The student has been hospitalized and further details about her condition have not yet come to light.

***
Eyewitness in Tehran:

"The gates of Tehran University bordering Engelab Street (the main entrance) were wrapped in banners and blockaded by buses so that the inside of the campus was not visible from outside on the street."

"The only entrance open was on the west side of the university (16 Azar St.). Students usually swipe an electronic card to enter the campus, but the system was shut off and the campus guards checked student IDs manually so to keep the general public from entering the grounds." Map

"Students gathered on campus near the Faculty of Technology (the site where the original 16 Azar tragedy had taken place in 1953)."

"By 11 am, students had taken out articles of green clothing such as scarves and wristbands in their bags as well as green balloons they filled up with air. Some had hid green clothing and shawls stashed away on campus. They began chanting non-radical slogans such as Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein and Allaho Akbar. They avoided "Death to" slogans, replacing the standard chant "Death to this manipulative government" with "Shame upon this manipulative government." In essence, "Marg bar" (death to) was replaced with "Nang bar" (shame upon), in a gesture to avoid violent language.

"Students began marching to the east side of campus, toward the College of Art, singing the resistance anthem Yare Dabestani."

"The south side of campus where the main entrance is located was blocked by Basij forces. Caught up in the fever of the resistance anthem and slogan-chanting, students moved south to face off with the Basij."

"Because the Basij had entered campus without student IDs posing as students, the students mocked them with shouts of: "Phony student/ where's your student card?"

As Basij are famously paid by the government for their services, students also shouted at them, "Basiji go home/ no free meal today!" and "Get lost, mercenary!"

Basijis replied with shouts of "Death to Traitors" [Marg bar monafegh].

"As the slogan-battle escalated, the sides became physically engaged. The Basij on campus were unarmed and attacked students with bare fists, and students fought back in defense. The skirmish lasted a quarter of an hour and ended when people on both sides intervened to stop the fighting."

"It was about 1 pm by then. The students, a crowd of about two thousand, headed back to the Faculty of Technology. The Basijis, holding Iranian flags and photos of Imam Khomeini, followed the students to disperse them."

"A number of Basijis went upstairs in the Technology building and began waving a flag from the window. A girl from the opposition side followed them and hung a green banner from the same window."

Students on campus believe that the Basij were sent onto campus to pose as students. "They wanted to show that pro-government students equal or outnumber opposition students," one student said. "It would have looked bad to have them swinging batons on campus, so instead they brought them in to mix among students. But their ages did not match this: 16-year-old boys and 45-year-old women did not appear to be real students!"

girlatwindow.jpgA Basij event on campus was an excuse to bring Basij members in; it ended at 2 pm. Female Basiji members began exiting the campus, shouting anti-opposition slogans such as "Death to the anti-Leadership!" [marg bar zed-velayat faqih]. As another slogan battle arose, the campus guards placed metal barriers between the warring sides to prevent clashes.

Meanwhile, other students on the south side of campus were engaged in clashes with the Basij. A female eyewitness said the Basij, on the pretext of driving protesters apart, began to molest female students, brushing up against their breasts and touching them.

Another slogan students chanted referred to the epic Shia hero Imam Hossein, who was betrayed by the people of Kufeh, which led to his demise by the Sunni leader Yazid. Students twisted this story into a slogan slamming the Supreme Leader by casting him in the role of Yazid: "We are not [like] the people of Kufeh/ to stand behind Yazid" [Ma ahle Kufeh nistim/ poshte Yazid beistim].

"To counter student chanting, the Basij brought a pick-up truck on campus and shouted counter-slogans into a megaphone to drown out the sound of the students' voices.

"Around 3:30, the Basij attacked the Faculty of Technology building, smashing the windows of the office of the Islamic Students Association, a member of the nationwide student union known as Daftar Tahkim (Office to Consolidate Unity). The Basij began attacking students with pepper spray, and arrested a member of the Association."

***

Eyewitness in Tehran:

"I got to Tehran University at 1 pm. Protesters in scattered pockets walked along the sidewalks of nearby streets -- Vesal, 16 Azar, Keshavarz Blvd, and others -- among heavy security presence. At the intersection of Valiasr and Bozorgmehr [near Valiasr Square], security forces attacked us with teargas, batons, and paint-ball guns, and also fired shots into the air to disperse us. I was seized at some point while running and was clubbed and kicked in the abdomen. I was sure I would be arrested, but surprisingly they let me go."

"Near Amir Kabir University, I heard loud slogans being chanted, and later learned that students had broken down the gates of the campus."

"Around 4 pm, I was near Enqelab Square, where there was so much tear gas that the police forces themselves were affected by it. I saw a police officer with streaming eyes, who was having cigarette smoke blown in his eyes by protesters to take away the sting. Pockets of protesters formed 'flash crowds' to chant slogans, and dis-banded and re-banded after clashing with security forces. Toward the end, the forces seemed exhausted, and mainly threw tear gas rather than beating with batons. Traffic was heavy and cars were honking loudly. This lasted until about 6 pm."

"Most slogans today were targeted at the Supreme Leader, and were shouted even in the presence of security forces -- an emboldened move compared to last times. The tone of the slogans were angrier and more radical than before."

***
Eyewitness in Tehran, College of Art:

"The protests today in Tehran were smaller in volume that those of 13 Aban [Nov. 4] which had covered a large swath of the city center. Today's protests were centered in and around university campuses, mainly University of Tehran, as well as Amir Kabir Polytechnique, Sharif, Khaje Nasir, and Azad Central universities."

"In the afternoon on the campus at Tehran University, the herasat, or ordinary university security, actually protected the students and tried to calm them to prevent provoking the Basij outside from coming onto campus to harass students."

"A new slogan chanted on campus today was: "the cry of our nation: politics is separate from religion" [shoar-e mellat-e ma/ din az siasat joda].

A new version of an earlier slogan that went "My martyred brother/ I will take back your vote" [baradar shahidam/ raay-et ra pas migiram] had escalated today to "My martyred brother/ I will avenge your blood" [baradar shahidam/ khun-et ra pas migiram]

Chants for the release of two prominent political prisoners, journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi and Reformist politician Mohsen Mirdamadi: "Free, free, Ahmad Zeidabadi" and "Free, free, Mohsen Mirdamadi."

"A male student at the College of Art climbed up the university entrance gate so that he would be visible to both students on campus and protesters on the street and held up a large caricature of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. With the Basij watching, the student lit the picture on fire, with onlookers cheering. Surprisingly, the Basij did not attempt to pull him down."

***
From source in Tehran: State news agencies were told not to carry reports of unrest for the next three days, starting as of last night.

***
An eyewitness in Tehran reached by mobile phone reported at 7:40 pm Tehran time: "Traffic is gridlocked along Modaress Expressway from Parkway to Haft-e-Tir Square, with people blaring their car horns." Traffic in Tehran is always heavy at this hour, of course, but honking horns is usually a sign of protest, as used at previous protest days.

***
Kalameh website is reporting today that the daughter of a murdered political dissident couple has been barred from exiting Iran.

Officials at Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran on Monday morning confiscated the passport of Parastou Forouhar and barred her from exiting the country. Parastou Forouhar is the daughter of Darius Forouhar and Parvaneh Eskandari, a dissident activist couple murdered in the course of the notorious Chain Murders of Iran in November 1998.

Ms. Forouhar lives in Germany and had returned to Iran to hold a commemoration ceremony for the anniversary of her parents' death.

***

Chants of "Death to Khamenei" rang through protests in many universities today, according to video footage and eyewitness reports.

***

According to Mousavi Facebook affiliate "Green Revolution," protests at some universities were slated to start at 8 and 9 am, and others at noon, with the public encouraged to create traffic in streets surrounding the universities. The public was invited to join the students in street protests outside of campus after 5 pm.

Protests took place at universities across Iran, including these cities so far: Hamedan, Arak, Shahr Kord, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, Zanjan, Tabriz, and Karaj. In the capital, protests were held at Tehran University main campus and Tehran University College of Art campus as well as other major universities in Tehran including: Amir Kabir, Khaje Nasir, Sharif, and Elm o Sanat.

Tehran University was completely surrounded by anti-riot forces since morning. The security presence was so heavy, one eyewitness circling the streets bordering campus in her car said it "felt like martial law."

Gunshots were heard at the College of Art campus on Valiasr Avenue, about 2 pm Tehran time.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani's daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, was arrested at the University of Science & Research about an hour ago (3 pm Tehran time). She was protesting among the students.

"Green Revolution" reported that a Mousavi aide who heads the opposition leader's youth and student cultural committee, Mohammad Jafar Tahmasebi, was arrested during today's protests at 16 Azar St. near Tehran University. Tahmasebi is a computer science major at Tehran University, and the son of Alireza Tahmasebi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's resigned minister of industry.

***
According to an eye witness, the crowd outside Tehran University was not that big, but it was violent, teargas was used, shots were fired into the air, and there were several motorcycles set on fire.

***

Eyewitness in Tehran heard these newly-coined slogans:

Khamenei bedune/ be zoodi sar negoone: "Khamenei should know, he is on his way out"
Nang ma, nang ma/ Rahbar aldang ma: "Our curse, our incompetent leader"
Pool naft chi shode/ Kharj basiji shode: "What happed to the oil money/ It was spent on the Basiji"

Student Basij deployed to Tehran University on 16 Azar

Nimrooz | Dec. 7, 2009

Nimrouz Online reported that at Tehran University a large crowd of military students from Imam Hussein University, along with security forces, participated in the 16 Azar ceremony.

According to the reports, the group held invitations issued by an unknown organization in order to gain entry onto the campus. The report claimed that the crowd of 5000 consisted of primarily non-students. Among them a 70-year-old woman chanted, "Death to those who oppose the Leader" while waving an Iranian flag.

The real TU students who had gathered on campus since the early hours of Monday responded with slogans of their own. Green supporters walked the length of Vali Asr Street to Qods Square in order to prevent clashes with security forces.

The report adds that a number of sporadic clashes occurred around the university. While TU campus security prevented Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, from entering the university, the Nimroz correspondent reported sighting Hossein Shariatmadari and Farhad Rahbar among the security and Basij forces present on campus.

Razi students gather in Kermanshah on 16 Azar

Gooya | Dec. 7, 2009

At Kermanshah's Razi University, students began gathering outside the compound from 3:15 pm on 16 Azar, Iran's national Student Day.

According to an Amir Kabir bulletin, over the past weeks a number of the university's students were barred from entering campus by the disciplinary tribunal.

Streets leading to Razi University are swarming with security and civilian forces and campus security was increased from 20 to 200 guards. The gathering will be held every day until Wednesday.

Riot police, Basijis clash with protestors outside Tehran Univ

Radio Farda | Dec. 7, 2009

Riot police clashed with thousands of anti-government protestors outside the University of Tehran on 16 Azar.

Eyewitnesses told the AP that Basij forces clashed with protestors. According to reports, thousands of riot polices surrounded the university compound since the early hours of Monday.

Parleman News, a website affiliated with the Majlis Reformist minority bloc, confirmed altercations outside universities and in particular Tehran University.

According to Parleman News, security and civil forces attempted to cut all contact between students on campus and the protestors outside campus by drawing a cover in front of the university's front gates. Protesters were arrested on a number of occasions, it added.

"Clashes between police and protestors continue," according to the Reformist website.

Amir Kabir Bulletin also reported a gathering of 1,500 students outside its technical engineering faculty. Clashes started by what the website termed "non-student forces."

Government news reports

Fars | Dec. 7, 2009

The pro-government Fars News Agency presented the following accounts:

1. Pro-[Supreme] Leader students dominated Mousavi supporters at Tehran University.

2. The total number of pro-Leader students present on campus were approximately 14,000 in number, 10,000 who shouted Allah-o Akbar; 4,000 who shouted Death to America.

3. The 2,000 Mousavi supporters on campus were only able to chant slogans when the pro-Leader students went to the Tehran University mosque for prayer.

4. Pro-Mousavi students threw rocks at pro-Leader students but the pro-Leader students did not react.

5. Pro-Mousavi students held posters of a living individual named Taraneh Mousavi, which had Martyred Taraneh Mousvai written under it, and were embarrassed when pro-Leader students mocked them and reminded them that she is alive.

6. Pro-Leader students closed the ceremony by visiting the resting place of martyred Tehran University students and offering a prayer and praying for the Health of the Hidden Imam and beating their chests.

7. Pro-Mousavi students closed the ceremony by leaving.

8. A few members of the Islamic Society of the Tehran University faculty of Law tried to gather rioters outside the faculty but were unsuccessful.

9. Such actions are committed by members of the University's Islamic societies after recently meeting with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. These individuals always claim that they have never participated in illegal gatherings despite photographs placing them at the scene.

Fars: Unrest ringleader arrested in women's clothing

Fars | Dec. 7, 2009

Fars News Agency claimed that the leader of the unrest at Amir Kabir Industrial University was arrested in women's clothing as he attempted to leave campus.

Majid Tavakoli, a student of maritime studies who was earlier expelled from AKIU, had illegally entered the university and attempted to incite unrest, it alleged.

After the unrest in the university was quelled, police arrested Tavakoli who was trying to escape from campus in women's clothing.

Fars claimed that Tavakoli is a member of the Allameh Group, which it said illegally contacts foreign radio stations and media outlets, is in close contact with MKO terrorists and organizes illegal student protests.

The report claims that the Amir Kabir Bulletin belongs to the Allameh Group and is directly run by an individual named "RY" who is an MKO agent. It adds that the members of the Allameh Group are also in contact with the separatist PEJAK terrorists.

Jahan news: BBC reporters arrested on 16 Azar

Gooya | Dec. 7, 2009

Jahan News claimed that a number of BBC reporters were arrested by security forces while filming the student protests in Tehran University on 16 Azar.

According to the report, media outlets that support Mousavi including VOA and the BBC urged people to participate in 16 Azar protests and provided live coverage of the gatherings in front of Tehran University on Monday.

The report goes on to claim that security forces investigated the issue and found the location where the reporters and photojournalists working for the two counter-revolutionary media outlets were stationed and arrested a number of them.

Jahan News said that it came as a surprise that the 'illegal reporters' were stationed on the seventh floor of the Educational Jihad building.

The report did not say whether the alleged reporters were "official BBC reporters or honorary ones." An informed source told Jahan that "There is no information on why and if Educational Jihad officials cooperated with the suspects and an investigation into the matter is under way."

The Educational Jihad is a government organization and is an affiliate of the ministry of science.

16Azar+teargas+EnqelabSt.jpg Basij+EnqelabSt.jpg

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6 Comments

You can get the latest information on protests in Iran here.

Ron / December 7, 2009 6:30 PM

Why do you print the lies and absolute hallucinations of FARS news agency?

What's the purpose of this?
A less informed person may get the wrong idea and actually think the pro-leader basijis (I doubt even half of them were students)outnumbered the students and regular folks.

Please refrain from printing lies and falsities. It affects your site's integrity and reliability.

Davood / December 7, 2009 11:57 PM

as I was watching the video from the amir kabir university (polytech) I could not help but experience dejavu. I rmember well watching from the third story building as the guard (riot guard, armed with batons and shields) moved agianst the amir kabir students following the chants of marg bar shah, marg bar shah. lets hope they know what they are doing this time. in the immortal words of hadi khorsandi, har kari mikhai bekon, mesle on bar enghelab nakon.

karimi / December 8, 2009 12:59 AM

"Government news reports"

Those accounts are borderline hilarious they're so far from the truth.

DC / December 8, 2009 1:59 AM

Just to show you the craziest news from Fars news agency, to know this agency better. This was sent about student day demonstrations. I suggest you carry this along with your minute by min report:Please please read this! This does tell about this idiotic news agency!!!! it is like a science fiction and I am wondered by these hallucinations....

http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8809101812

Anonymous / December 8, 2009 8:36 AM

The students remain unconvinced. I wonder why? Could it be they doubt the benevolence of a regime that trumpets Students Day by clamp-downs on those very same students The Soviet Union was a workers paradise but not for workers. Irans Student Day is Day not for students.

pirooz / December 8, 2009 9:33 AM