University students have been part and parcel of the ongoing liberation movement in Iran. They joined the movement from the very beginning, both through their organized protests and strikes within campuses as well as through statements of solidarity and their presence on the streets. The University of Tehran was the first to join the people of Sanandaj on September 18th, a day after Mahsa Amini’s funeral in Saqqez, Kurdistan. On September 19th, calls for protest rallies spread in more universities, including Amirkabir University of Technology, where paramilitary forces used violence against students to disperse them. From then on, many more universities quickly joined the cause. Independent student associations and unions started releasing statements condemning police and state brutality, chanting slogans such as “Rape, Murder; Down with such a velayat (government),” and asking University faculty to join the strike. As the protests and strikes spread in many more universities, the fear of organized student unions has brought about more brutal clashes between the police and military and the unarmed students. Student protest rallies and strikes have become more organized and intensified in the last two days. On October 1st, the paramilitary forces, already present on university campuses, were joined by military forces on the campus of Sharif University, closing the gates and besieging students inside. Hundreds were arrested and a few shot. The day after, as the news of the violent attack on Sharif University spread, hundreds of furious university students and high schoolers joined the strike.
As the people of Sanandaj took to the streets on Sunday night to protest against the death of Mahsa, large numbers of students from Tehran University held a protest rally with signs and placards in their hands, chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom”, and “Death to the dictator”, among other radical slogans.
Protests continued that day, with videos shared on social media showing hundreds of students at Tehran University on strike and shouting “Death to the dictator”.
Students attended protest rallies in many more universities in Tehran, Karaj, Yazd Tabriz, and other cities. Pictures of the protest at Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran on social media show female students setting fire to their veils on campus, a rebellious act unseen until the recent waves of protests. Other footage from Kharazmi University in Karaj showed students stamping on a picture of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran.
Ongoing protests at the University of Tehran where students chanted “Down with the oppressor, whether it be the Shah or the supreme leader”.
Although many students were arrested in the previous days from campus, their homes, or in the streets, 22nd of September marked the day of mass arrests of University students. Hundreds of students were arrested in Tehran and other cities. Despite news of the mass arrests, students in many universities continued boycotting classes and protesting on campus.
Tehran and Shiraz universities, among others, continued protests while large protests in the contested city of Oshnavieh continued.
Medical and dentistry students of Tabriz University gathered and chanted to protest the arrest of students by Iran’s government police. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the Chief Justice of Iran, said, “[police officers] did not sleep last night and the nights before … and they must be thanked”. On the same day, the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said: “We support the people’s struggles against organized and everyday violence against women and against the poverty and hell that dominates the society”.
Iranian authorities fired bullets into the air to disperse protestors at Islamic Azad University.
Protests continue in the streets, while police and military started shooting at students on the campus of Sharif University. Iranian Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Mohammad Ali Zolfigol intervened and allegedly escorted some of the students to buses that were supposed to take students to dormitories. However, many of those buses were directed to unknown locations, adding to the number of kidnapped students since the start of the protests. Meanwhile, other students were trapped and detained by law enforcement. Families of the students gathered by the closed gates of the university, collectively asking for their release, with other protesters joining them until 1 am on October 3.
Nationwide, university and high school students protest and strike. Despite the ongoing internet blockage, videos and images of students of dozens of universities in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Sanandaj, and many more provinces on strike have been coming out. So far, October 3 marks the largest student protests and strikes since the start of the uprisings. Student unions and associations are calling out professors who have not yet joined the strike.