Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bullet, Tear Gas Fired in Tehran Unrest Anniversary of Raid on Dorm Sparks Violence

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bullet, Tear Gas Fired in Tehran Unrest Anniversary of Raid on Dorm Sparks Violence

Article excerpt

TEHRAN, Iran -- Police fired bullets and tear gas yesterday at rioters who smashed bus windows and shouted slogans against Iran's Islamic government in the latest outburst of political unrest.

Screaming "death to the clerical government," the rioters burned bundles of hard-line newspapers, shattered shop windows and damaged the shutters on downtown businesses.

Authorities blamed the eruption on hooligans trying to stir up trouble after clashes between supporters and opponents of democratic reforms. At least a dozen people were injured and scores were arrested.

The violence started yesterday outside Tehran University during demonstrations marking the first anniversary of a bloody police raid on a university dormitory. It overshadowed student groups' peaceful commemorations of the July 9, 1999, pre-dawn raid that left one student dead and triggered the widest unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Office for Fostering Unity, the largest pro-reform student group, disavowed the rioters.

"The demonstrators were not students," the group said in a statement.

The trouble followed months of tension between pro-democracy supporters of President Mohammad Khatami and rival hard-liners who have closed down pro-reform newspapers and arrested presidential allies in a bid to roll back the immensely popular reforms. Students are among Khatami's strongest supporters.

Also yesterday, vigilantes attacked an earlier demonstration by students chanting slogans in support of reform and political freedoms. Witnesses said police did not intervene as the vigilantes punched and kicked students in the face. No severe injuries were reported.

The situation degenerated later in the day. Hundreds of people, many armed with rocks and chanting "death to dictators," fought a vicious battle against dozens of hard-line vigilantes armed with rocks and chains. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.