Pro-democracy protesters flee gunshot, students report
July 12, 1999
TEHRAN, Iran -- Pro-democracy protests erupted into violence again on Monday, as a shot fired outside a Tehran University mosque sent thousands of demonstrators fleeing.
The students demanded revenge against hardline conservatives, witnesses said.
There were no reports of injuries and it was not immediately clear who fired the shot, an apparent surge of violence in the fifth day of student protests that have rocked the Islamic Republic.
"Cannon, tanks and machineguns no longer have any effect," the crowd chanted as they tore through the university campus in central Tehran. "Students choose to die before they yield."
The shot was heard after students shouted down attempts to read a statement on Iran's political crisis by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and student leaders lost what little control they had over the crowd.
In a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency, Khamenei denounced last week's attack on students by police and hardline thugs, calling it "unacceptable in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Khamenei, generally above public criticism, has been under intense pressure to curb the hardline groups and their shadowy supporters within the Iranian establishment.
At least 20 students were seriously injured and about 120 others were arrested in a police raid last week, following a demonstration by students protesting a new anti-press law and the banning of a leftist newspaper.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Iranian council fires police chief over dormitory raid
Islamic Republic News Agency -(IRNA)
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