Despite an ongoing crackdown against dissidents by the Iranian regime, Iranian students commemorated Student Day this year with several demonstrations. Student Day is traditionally observed on December 6th, and marks the anniversary of the killing of 3 Iranian students by the Iranian government in the 1950s.
At Tehran University, hundreds of students from several Iranian universities rallied in support of academic freedom and respect for human rights. Organized by the student group, The Office to Consolidate Unity, the demonstration took place on December 7th to avoid conflict with authorities on Student Day itself. Still, security on the Tehran University campus on December 7th was tight. One student told the media, "There was tough control; they [the authorities] would not let anyone in, but students broke through the gate and came in." According to the media, the students called for basic rights including freedom of speech, human rights, and gender equality.
Two days later, on December 9th, several hundred students at Shiraz University held their own demonstrations. A student at that demonstration told Radio Farda the protestors were demonstrating against "President Ahmadinejad, the supreme leadership in Iran that does not accept criticism, the clampdowns on the political activities of university students, and the banning of publications."
Over the past several years in Iran, hundreds of students have been arrested, expelled from university and jailed for expressing dissenting views. The continuing willingness of Iranian students to stand up for their universal rights in the face of government repression is a testament to their courage and determination, and also to what U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently called "the desire inherent in every human heart for freedom."