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Politics

Dispatch From Citizen Journalist -- Tension Runs High In Saqqez Schools

November 1, 2022
You in IranWire
3 min read
Dispatch From Citizen Journalist -- Tension Runs High In Saqqez Schools

Students in the city of Saqqez, Kurdistan province, continue to go to school as armed forces are patrolling the streets in search for those who have participated in protest actions. 

Saqqez is the hometown of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman whose September 16 death in custody of morality police triggered the ongoing wave of unrest across Iran.

According to an IranWire citizen journalist, security forces can be seen around schools to identify and arrest protesting students, in cooperation with some school staff.

In such a tense atmosphere, parents told the citizen reporter they preferred that their children do not attend school.

Saturday, September 29, Gaza Martyrs Girls’ High School

Like every day, parents were waiting for their daughters to get out of the Gaza Martyrs girls’ high school. Like every day, they were worried about the security situation at schools, where some of the staff were said to be cooperating with the security forces.

At the end of the classes, school staff prevented the girls from leaving the building because protests were raging in the city. Angry parents knocked on the doors of the high school and called for their children to be released.

As the demand remained ignored, the parents took stones from a nearby wall and threw them toward the school building. At that moment, security forces clashed with the angry crowd and fired tear gas.

Students were finally let go amid intense tear gas smoke and screams from the parents.

Sunday, September 30, Dr. Hesabi Boys' Conservatory

After classes ended, students of the Dr. Hasabi boys' conservatory chanted slogans as they gathered at Mother Square, until a riot squad came and clashed with the group.

Locals said the aggressors were wearing ordinary clothing, not uniforms. According to witnesses, a car without any license plate took at least two students to an unknown place.

At 3 p.m., the incident was over.

Plainclothes Officers Deployed Around Schools

Some school staff, students and their families say there has been an increased presence of security forces near schools to monitor students after many of them joined the nationwide protest movement.

"I have been working in this place for 20 years and I know my students. When a stranger appears in front of the school and walks around the neighborhood, his presence is quite visible. This is frightening students and their parents," a school staff member told IranWire.

"We and other parents are worried that if there is a protest, the [security] forces will arrest our children,” a parent said.

“Students cannot be stopped. They have protested in the classrooms, the schoolyard and then on the street. The officers arrest, beat and injure students without any consideration.”

Another parent said: "When the children are at school, we are worried that some of the school staff who are in contact and cooperate with the security forces will keep the children in the schools or put them in contact with security forces. I prefer that my child didn’t go to school in such a situation."

Half-Closed Schools

Some parents have decided not to send their children to school, and many students are refusing to attend classes.

Teachers have gone on strike in response to the arrest of their colleagues and students. Also, many schoolgirls are removing the hijab and ripping portraits of the Islamic Republic’s leaders. As a result, some principals have clashed with the students and the atmosphere at schools has become increasingly tense.

The Coordinating Council for Teachers Union reported last week that many schools across Iran, mainly in predominantly Kurdish cities, heeded its call to boycott classes for two days in protest over the deaths and arrests of students.

School students across the country have joined the nationwide protests, leading to clashes with teachers and security forces. Some teachers and students suspected of having taken part in the demonstrations were arrested.

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