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Sharif Students Terrified and Attacked During Siege

October 3, 2022
7 min read
A new report details the deceptions, terror and attacks on Sharif University students yesterday
A new report details the deceptions, terror and attacks on Sharif University students yesterday

A report published on a student association Twitter account of Sharif University of Technology yesterday, Sunday, October 2, covers the student protests and clashes with security forces that took place at the unviersity yesterday. The report may not cover every detail of the day, but it brings together as many narratives and personal accounts as possible.

On Saturday, silent sit-ins were held at Sharif University and a gathering was held in front of the main entrance of the university, causing the presence of the university president and security forces. Three students were arrested – making it clear that security forces would not tolerate the protests building at the university.

On Saturday, a poster calling for more demonstrations on Sunday, October 2, had been distributed anonymously.

This gathering was supposed to take place at 3pm in front of the Computer Faculty. A large crowd of students first gathered there before heading towards the Ibn Sina building, and onwards to the main entrance at Azadi Gate. The students chanted slogans and attracted others along the way. An unprecedented crowd – compared to previous rallies – reached the main entrance.

Upon reaching the gate, the Sharif students continued chanting slogans, the focus of which was to protest against the murder of Mahsa Amini, and the recent arrests of students. Four Sharif students, who were told they would be released on bail days ago, have still not been released.

As the protest developed, the slogans became more radical and, at this time, some other students, mostly Basijis who were not allied to the protesters, came from the mosque to the gathering and stood in front of the students. There were fewer Basijis present than protesting students. The crowd grew angry with the presence of Basijis and chanted slogans against them – which the Basiji students returned in kind. Physical clashes broke out.

After a while, the student crowd decided to move away from the main entrance, since they knew that, from the night before, measures were taken to install new cameras and transmitters at the main entrance of the university so that the authorities could track and identify individuals.

The protesters then moved to the front of the Energy Department gate. Plainclothes agents were waiting for them, with several vans, to arrest as many as possible. At least three students were arrested and one was wounded by a blow to the head with a baton, and was taken to hospital.

Students who witnessed the brutal arrest of their friends reacted with louder chants. The response of plainclothes agents was to fire paintballs and shotguns. The protesters were forced to move away from the head office as an atmosphere of fear overcame the campus. The doors of the university were closed and the students were surrounded by security forces and plainclothes agents.

University professors were present in the crowd and were trying to arrange for the students to leave the university safely and go to their homes or dormitories. After a few hours of debate, security forces and the university president said that students should go to the university parking lot in a queue and then enter Teimuri Square to reach the Metro station and return to their homes.

Students trusted this decision. But as they moved from the Energy Department gate and into the parking lot, plainclothes agents appeared with guns, provoking the escape of several students, who then calmed down and continued moving.

Several students at the head of the crowd entered the first and second floor of the parking lot. Plainclothes agents were waiting, with batons and firearms and motorbikes, to arrest the students.

The agents attacked the students on the first floor and stopped them from moving by firing plastic bullets and shotguns at close range, especially at the female students, and with barbaric violence, they arrested the students and put them in a van.

The students were then trapped in the parking lot, overwhelmed by panic and fear, trying to hide behind other cars. The agents followed them and, swearing at them, fired plastic bullets and tear gas that caused widespread injuries and bleeding. A number of students managed to escape into a nearby supermarket.

The students who had not yet entered the parking lot heard gunfire and tried to help students now stuck inside. However the door of the parking was blocked, and the whole crowd, now terrified, fled to the Faculty of Management and Economics but found the doors of the faculty were locked.

Reports suggest that, by this point, at least 30 to 40 students of Sharif University were arrested. No information is available about the status of most of these students or where they are being held.

The students then concluded that moving to the parking lot, if not definitive sign of collusion between the university and security forces, was at least a grave mistake. The crowd decided to try to return to the relative safety of the university buildings. The crowd moved in that direction but the appetites of the security forces was still unsatisfied. Holding their guns, they watched the students, and plucked some of them from the crowd to take them away.

The crowd panicked at this point and fled towards the Energy Department gate, which was still open. Two more students were arrested at this point. Intelligence officials associated with the university tried to prevent security forces from arresting students. But the plainclothes agents even beat the university’s intelligence officials.

A famous Sharif professor also tried to stop the arrests – he was also beaten.

The security forces then staged a limited retreat, and the Energy Department gate was opened for students still outside to re-enter the university. The students felt besieged: as if the enemy were roaming the campus and looking for prey. Many were in tears, especially the new students of 2022, who had started university just two days earlier. They were terrified and had no idea what to do.

Every moment, one of the students fainted from the stress of the situation, and their friends rushed and took them to the university health center so they could be looked after. Students tried, as much as possible, to stay away from the Energy Department gate and to go to faculty buildings. At this time, the Minister of Science, Research and Technology, Mohammad Ali Zolfigol, entered the university. He spoke and argued with security officials in an effort to maintain safety at the doors of Sharif University.

The minister and the university president then went to Jabari Hall, and several students accompanied them, so that the minister and other students could speak. Zolfigol addressed the students with shocking words and a disrespectful manner, and accused them of lawlessness and wasting public money. He said they would be held accountable in this world, and the next, and never to think that they can say whatever they want and to get away with it.

Zolfigol’s words were so harsh that even the university president tried to calm the atmosphere, and looked at the situation a little more logically, but even this earned a rebuke. A Sharif professor, Dr. Ali Sharifi Zarchi, also spoke and was well-received by the students.

Zolfigol then realized that this same professor had been active on Twitter with support for the nationwide popular protests.

The minister then challenged Dr. Sharifi Zarchi, calling him unscrupulous, immoral and treacherous, playing on the emotions of the young people. But the crowd reacted by showing vocal support for Dr. Sharifi Zarchi and rejecting the minister’s words.

The security forces then announced that, with the assurance of the minister, the doors of the university were safe and students would be able to leave the university. But the students hesitated because they knew they could not trust a minister who had promised that four Sharif students would be released, the previous Saturday morning, but this had not happened. After some time, the security forces talked to the students and they were convinced to leave the university collectively.

Most of Tehran’s students had asked their families to pick them and take them home. Some went to the Metro in groups. Minibuses and vans provided by the university for students took some of them to their dormitories and some professors also boarded the vehicles to keep dormitory students safe. The process of withdrawing students from the university took a long time – finally the news came that almost all the students had left the university.

But word of the situation had spread online and there was heavy traffic, especially at Azadi Avenue gate, located on Azadi Avenue, as a crowd appeared to protest with honking horns and slogans. And even they were greeted with tear gas and attacks by pellet guns.

The students, once at their dormitories, and despite being sheltered, saw that plainclothes agents had surrounded the dormitories and were waiting for them. The students tried to stay indoors but were afraid that the plainclothes officers would enter and attack them. That is why many of them, despite the terrible events of that day, planned to hold vigil until the morning to be ready for any fresh dangers.



Eyewitnesses Describe Sharif University Siege

October 3, 2022
Samaneh Ghadarkhan
5 min read
Eyewitnesses Describe Sharif University Siege