چهارشنبه ۹ فروردین ۱۳۹۶ تهران ۱۰:۴۸
UPRISING ANNIVERSARY: Riot Police Threatens to Crackdown on Rallies, Students Say
The Islamic Republic police chief said riot police lining Tehran streets will help traffic cops better control Tehran’s chaotic streets, but student activists say the deployment of club-wielding special unit officers camouflage paramilitary uniforms is in preparation for crackdown on any student rallies on the fifth anniversary of the 1999 student uprising. "Special police forces are helping the traffic police to restore order and enforce traffic laws,” police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Monday, according to IRNA.
“The plan has helped the flow of traffic in major cities, especially in Tehran,” deputy police chief Mohsen Ansari told IRNA.
Student leader Abdollah Momeni told Reuters the presence of special police forces created "a menacing atmosphere to prevent student protests" honoring the fifth anniversary of the 1999 police and plainclothes security forces attack on student dorms, which sparked widespread student uprising. However, students said they doubted any protests would take place this year in Tehran, Reuters reports.
Student leader Matin Meshkini said riot police were put in the streets several months ahead of the student anniversary to conceal their real motive.
"They wanted to show that no special forces were brought to the streets just because of the anniversary," he said.
Interior ministry said no permits would be issued for any student rallies on July 9, citing an order issued by the secretary of the supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani, according to a spokesman of the association of the Islamic students council (Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat), which applied for a rally permit.
A European diplomat in Tehran called the display of special forces a show of strength by the regime’s conservative faction, which seeks to clinch the presidency in the upcoming elections. The conservatives won a majority in the Majles after the Guardians Council banned thousands of reformists from standing for election.
“There has to be a worry that it is part of something more significant,” the diplomat said of the Islamic Republic police’s show of force in Tehran’s streets.