Iranian protesters defy brutal crackdown in 12th week of protests

Protests broke out on university campuses and streets across Iran, with security forces reportedly violently cracking down.

 Iranians protest, holding signs with slogans such as "women, life, freedom" and" "I swear by the good blood of Iran it will be free." December 2022 (photo credit: 1500tasvir)
Iranians protest, holding signs with slogans such as "women, life, freedom" and" "I swear by the good blood of Iran it will be free." December 2022
(photo credit: 1500tasvir)

Protesters filled university campuses and streets throughout Iran and businesses across the country were shuttered, as Iranians marked Student Day, which commemorates the 1953 murder of three university students by the Shah’s police force, on Wednesday.

Video from a number of cities, including Isfahan, Tehran, Zahedan and Ilam, among others showed businesses shuttered.

Students at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad chanted “If one person is killed, a thousand people will be behind him.” The students were reportedly assaulted by security forces, with shouts and cries heard in video from the scene.

Students at the Tehran University of Arts chanted “Shout students, shout your rights.” Students at the University of Tehran filled a room and chanted anti-government slogans.

Protesters at the Amirkabir University in Tehran shouted the slogan “Death to Khamenei” and “Whether with hijab or without hijab, towards the revolution,” and broke through security barriers on the campus.

Iranians protest across country, December 7, 2022 (Credit: 1500tasvir)

Students at the Pars Higher Education Institute of Art and Architecture shouted “Freedom is our right!”

Protesters in a number of cities also staged silent protests, with videos showing crowds marching quietly in Tehran and Qorveh. Despite the peaceful protest, shots were fired toward the demonstrators in Qorveh, with a number of injuries reported by the Hengaw Human Rights Organization.

Video from a central road in Tehran showed crowds of security forces marching in the street. A large presence of security forces was filmed in Bukan and Qorveh as well.

Reports indicated that large crowds were gathering in Azadi Square in Tehran, with internet access in the area heavily restricted on Wednesday afternoon.

Video from the area showed crowds streaming towards the square and chanting slogans against the government.

“The revolution continues until the student wakes up” read a sign featuring an upraised fist hung over a highway in Tehran on Wednesday evening.

Video from Tehran on Wednesday night showed security forces firing at the face of a sitting civilian.

According to the Iran Human Rights organization, at least 458 people, including 63 minors, have been killed since the protests began.

Iranian professor warns suppression will only 'radicalize' students

Ali Mohammad Hashedi, a professor at Tarbiat Modares University, told the Iranian ILNA news site that students needed to be allowed to express their views, lamenting that the government had decided to clash with students instead of utilizing their energy.

“We hope that the student movement, relying on the two elements of independence and non-violence, can play its political role as a symbol of the social demanding movement,” said Hashedi, warning that banning students from campuses and other penalties on students would “only lead to the radicalization of student movements” and would cause intellectuals to flee the country.

Perhaps the best solution for the government is to recognize the student movement and create space for making demands, to open up thoughts, expectations, conflict of opinions, criticisms and protests in various forms and to restore the student atmosphere to its vitality and freshness and in this way to prevent the occurrence of violence and acts that disrupt security.”

Raisi claims protesters want chaos

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke at the University of Tehran to mark Student Day, claiming that he had come despite being advised by some people not to participate in the commemoration.

“Today, our university hit the enemy, and for that reason, they wanted to create chaos in this space and close the classrooms, but the educated professors and students did not allow them to do so,” said Raisi. The president additionally said that protesters were lying when they said they are looking for “life and freedom for the people of Iran.”

Students at the University of Tehran protested before the speech, chanting “freedom, freedom, freedom.” The ILNA news site, which often covers news about workers' rights and unions, was not invited to cover Raisi’s speech.