Iran bans capital demonstrations after clashes
July 12, 1999
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Tehran issued a ban Monday for any demonstrations on Tuesday, an apparent attempt to end five days of violent clashes that have pitted pro-democracy students against police and hard-line vigilantes.
The action was taken "due to abuses by certain suspicious elements causing disturbances and inconvenience for Tehran residents," the governor's office said in a statement released by the official IRNA news agency.
Earlier in the day, more than a thousand Iranian students, their faces covered by masks, clashed with police and religious hard-liners.
Similar skirmishes have taken place since Thursday, when students first staged demonstrations after the government banned a reformist newspaper that backed moderate President Mohammed Khatami.
On Friday night, police, with the help of hard-liners, raided a Tehran University dormitory to arrest student leaders. One person was killed and some 20 others hospitalized.
On Monday, students set at least two police vehicles on fire when demonstration spilled into Tehran's streets. Several students were injured during the clashes or from inhaling tear gas.
The demonstration lasted for over an hour before the students were forced to retreat back to the Tehran University campus, where they split into several smaller groups and headed off in different directions.
Police patrolled the streets to prevent further violence, but other clashes were reported on Monday, including one in which religious hard-liners assaulted a group of women because they objected to how the women were dressed.
About 5,000 students staged a peaceful sit-in on campus. They halted the protest in the evening and police surrounding the campus allowed them to leave.
But police and hard-line vigilantes also took control of areas surrounding the main dormitory complex, beating back students who had set up barricades outside, witnesses said.
Many students fled back inside the dormitories, while others took refuge in nearby homes. Vigilantes armed with stones, sticks and meat cleavers chased away students who remained at the scene.
Monday's violence began when a small explosion plunged the protest into chaos. Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said what appeared to be a firecracker went off outside the university gate. Earlier, a person on a motorcycle fired a shot as he drove past the protest at the gate.
Ayatollah Khamenei condemns raid
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement read over Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency that condemned last Thursday's unauthorized raid, ordered by security officials who answer to his religious hard-liners.
Khamenei said the attack was "a bitter and unacceptable incident" that "pained his heart." Those responsible, he said, would be dealt with "no matter in the garb of law enforcement forces or else."
Iran's Supreme National Security Council responded to the incident Sunday by firing two security chiefs, but the students have called for the resignation of Brig. Gen. Hedayat Lotfian, the national police chief. The Iranian government has taken no action against Lotfian, who is closely allied with the hard-liners.
Correspondent Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Reuters contributed to this report.
Iran sacks police chiefs over student protest crackdown
University of Tehran
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