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3,000 Iranians Rally in Mostly Peaceful Anti-Government Protest

June 11, 2003|From Reuters

TEHRAN — Thousands of Iranians took to the streets early today, chanting anti-government slogans in a largely peaceful protest after police surrounded a student dormitory here in the capital, witnesses said.

Residents said a student protest over plans to privatize universities developed into a political demonstration involving about 3,000 people.

"Political prisoners must be freed," the crowd shouted in a square near Tehran University, the scene almost four years ago of the biggest pro-reform unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Other chants were directed against Iran's clerical rulers.

Police with batons moved to break up the protest, but there were no major clashes, and witnesses said they saw only a handful of arrests. Several motorcycles were torched and some businesses' windows were smashed as demonstrators dispersed.

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