TEHRAN: Students protested in Tehran on Saturday in a third day of demonstrations sparked by anger over Iran’s economic problems, videos on social media showed, but were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators.
The pro-regime students shouted “Death to the seditionists” as they seized back control of the entrance of the University of Tehran, videos published by several local news agencies showed.
Later in the day, pro-reform news agency ILNA quoted a ministry of science official as saying that the students were eventually able to leave the university in buses.
“During the afternoon’s protests three students from the University of Tehran were arrested and, based on our information, two of them have been released,” the official said.
It followed a protest by several dozen students, with videos on social media showing scuffles with police and chants against the regime.
“The opportunists who wanted to benefit from the situation have been dispersed with the arrival of (the other) students,” the conservative-linked Tasnim news agency reported.
Mehr news agency said 300 to 400 protesters were still around the university, causing the closure of nearby streets and heavy traffic congestion.
The numbers appeared to be smaller than demonstrations seen across other major towns and cities on Thursday and Friday, which had been sparked by high living costs but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.
The conservative-linked Fars news agency said “harsh chants” were heard at the Tehran protests and that riot police had been dispatched to the scene.
“Unlike other protests in various cities which were against the economic situation and high prices, the one in front of the University of Tehran was political,” Fars said.
The students repeated a popular chant of “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” — an expression of anger over claims the government is focusing more on regional issues than problems at home.
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) December 30, 2017