Mass arrests of university students across Iran

Hundreds of university students from different cities have been arrested for taking part in the current uprising in Iran. The number of arrests is increasing every moment, and it has been difficult to keep track of all the arrestees. In many cases, it is not even clear which of the state’s oppressive organizations, whether the security police, Intelligence Ministry, or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have arrested people. 

Students are often detained with severe violence and in some cases, there have been reports of students transferred to hospital due to injuries that occurred during arrest. Another commonality among these arrests is that they are accompanied by house inspection and confiscation of mobile phones and laptops without any valid permission by unknown security forces. In most cases, no information is given to their families about where they are detained. 

It is worth noticing that many universities started their protest rallies from day one of this widespread uprising and continued to rally every day until the stage of assault and widespread arrests. The student associations movement and their executive bodies were weakened by continuous repression from 2017 to 2020, then a long-term closure of universities because of the COVID pandemic. Upon reopening in the spring of 2022, student connections started to form rapidly against the new neoliberal attack on the institution of education, through further monetizations, sell-offs to the private sector, and price increases of the well-being and educational facilities. Moreover, since the 2018 uprising, students played a major role in promoting influential progressive slogans such as “Hardliners- Reformers- The game is over” throughout the movements. This time, they pioneered the slogan “Death to the oppressor / whether the king or the [supreme] leader”, to manifest that this uprising has nothing to do with the fallen dynasty of the former Shah of Iran. This slogan later echoed in many cities in Iran. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Islamic Republic performs mass arrests of university students now, desiring to prevent the advance of a movement which has significant influence within the much larger protest movement which has emerged.

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