ace women burn headscarves and cut their hair in nationwide protestsan Iranian official said Tuesday that students taking part in street protests are being arrested and taken to psychiatric facilities.
In an interview with an independent, reform-oriented Iranian newspaper, Iranian Education Minister Yousef Nouri confirmed that some students were indeed being detained, citing what he called “psychological institutions”.
The institutions housing the students are designed to reform and re-educate the students to prevent “anti-social” behavior.
“It is possible that these students have become ‘anti-social characters’ and we want to reform them,” he told the Shargh newspaperand added that students “can return to the classroom after their reformation”.
Almost a month ago, 22 year old Mahsa Amini died after they were taken to a “re-education center” by the state’s “morality police” for not following state regulations conservative dress code. Amini’s death has sparked weeks of anti-government protests that have spread across the country.
The Minister of Education was unable to put a precise figure on the number of students in prison, saying: “The number is not large and there are not many.”
Girls and women across Iran have played a crucial role in the demonstrations, protesting in schools, campuses and on the streets in recent weeks.
Footage shared on social media shows Iranian women and girls chanting “Death to the Dictator” while removing their headscarves; CNN once witnessed girls at a vocational high school in Tehran protesting on a street near their school, shouting “Woman, Life, Freedom.”
The demonstrations have become dangerous at times. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Tehran on Wednesday, and bookstores and offices near Tehran University closed their doors as riot police chased protesters and fired rubber bullets at protesters, an eyewitness said. In Kaj Square, members of the Iranian paramilitary organization Basij ordered people to move on and discouraged others from standing in the street, the eyewitness said.
Videos obtained by the pro-reformist organization IranWire and posted on social media on Wednesday showed demonstrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities.
Police and Basij members fired tear gas at the gathering of Iranian lawyers in Tehran, while uniformed and plainclothes police officers in western Tehran fired guns in the air, driving people away from the scene. Riot police gathered on one of the busiest shopping streets in the city. In another, protesters chanted “Mullahs, get out.”
Footage from Rasht, northwest of Tehran, showed police in riot gear beating people with batons and dragging them off the sidewalk
On Tuesday, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, called for the protection of children and youth amid public unrest in Iran, which is now in its third week.
“We are extremely concerned by continuing reports of children and youth being killed, injured and detained amid ongoing public unrest in Iran,” Read the UNICEF statement.