When a sobbing friend of Farid called for help on Sunday, he hopped on his bike and rode quickly to Sharif University in Tehran.
“Please come and save us. We are stuck here. They are shooting at us,” his friend said.
Scenes of violence and “brutality” met him when he arrived on the campus of an elite university, he said, where hundreds of students Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were trapped in a parking lot, according to videos verified by CNN via social media.
“They had shotguns and paintball guns and batons,” said Fred, whose name has been changed for his safety.
“They were using gases… [that are] An internationally banned… It was a war zone… Blood was everywhere.”
In a video posted on social media from the scene, police can be seen detaining people and carrying them on motorbikes. Elsewhere, I heard a loud bang.
It was the first day at school, but many students refused to join the class. Instead, they were protesting against the regime, in a national movement sparked by death whsa aminia 22-year-old man who died last month in hospital after being arrested Iranian morality police And sent to the “rehabilitation center” for non-compliance of the state hijab laws.
For more than two weeks, protests erupted in more than 45 cities across Iran, including the capital, where dozens of people were killed in clashes with security forces.
CNN cannot independently verify the allegations of arrests or detentions because the exact number of protesters arrested or detained is impossible for those outside the Iranian government to confirm. The numbers vary depending on whether they are from opposition groups, international human rights organizations, or local journalists. The state media, Radio Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIB), reported that at least 41 people were killed in Iran in the recent protests. According to Amnesty International, the crackdown has killed at least 52 people and injured hundreds more.
While the marches began with calls for justice for Amini’s death, they have since grown into a larger movement, uniting a range of factions and social classes.
Farid said Sunday’s incident began after campus security reprimanded a group of students – who had called in reinforcements – for walking out and engaging in anti-regime chants.
It started with the students refusing to go to class. Then the science (professor) came to talk to them because they were saying things… The students were taken away by the security forces at the university, and then they were stopped by the Sepah (Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces), and they were wearing normal people’s clothes,” Farid told CNN.
They told them, “If you come close to the subway station, we will start shooting, and we will go back to the university.” Then, after half of the students returned to the university, they let the others into the parking lot. And then, they started shooting them with paintballs and detaining them in a very brutal way.”
As the university’s daily Al-Sharif reported, security forces fired less-lethal shots at large groups of students in the campus parking lot as they attempted to flee security forces on Sunday. Videos on social media reviewed by CNN captured the incident.
The “three main dormitories” at Sharif University were also “shot at” by security forces, according to Farid, who claimed that there were still students hiding in the university after the events of Sunday night.
“As we speak, there are still students hiding out at the university in parking lots or in professors’ rooms,” he told CNN.
“We don’t have a score [of detainees] Until now. The Student Council has been trying to do a count, but we won’t know for sure for another five or six hours.”
The official Iranian news agency, citing a source at the university, said that 30 students out of 37 students arrested during the protests have been released.
CNN cannot independently verify what happened during the clashes at Sharif University or the number of students detained in their aftermath. Representatives from Sharif University could not be immediately reached for comment.
In a statement on Monday, the Islamic Association of Sharif University Students urged all “professors and students at Sharif University not to attend classes until all the arrested students are released,” while calling on students and professors across Iran to stop classes in solidarity.
Excerpts from this ongoing solidarity have already been seen in the Iranian capital, where video The post on social media shows a row of cars blocking streets near Sharif University on Sunday night in support of the students.
The nationwide protests – which combine a host of grievances about a faltering economy, limited civil rights and the marginalization of ethnic minorities – are the most significant domestic threat the Iranian regime has faced in years.
Today’s protests also bring together young Iranians with access to the Internet who did not know Iran before the Islamic Republic.
Analysts say the government – which has blamed Western media for inciting the protests – is unlikely to make concessions, as the end of the demonstrations is likely to come through the use of brute force.
But Fred insists that he and his contemporaries are not afraid, saying that they have nothing to lose.
“This is far from over. We’re not afraid. We’re angry. We’re angry. You know, these people think we’re the previous generation — and if they did, we’d just stop. We won’t stop,” he said.
“These kids are our future,” Farid added. “We will not defend this.”