ITALY: People from across the spectrum of Italian politics join in to support the Iranian dissident students ten days after their hostile protestRecord ID: 313625
- Title: ITALY: People from across the spectrum of Italian politics join in to support the Iranian dissident students ten days after their hostile protest
- Date: 22nd December 2006
- Summary: (BN17) ROME, ITALY (DECEMBER 21, 2006) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF POLICE GUARDING IRANIAN EMBASSY DEMONSTRATORS GATHERED NEAR EMBASSY PEOPLE UNROLLING BANNER MORE OF DEMONSTRATORS
- Reuters ID: LVAEHA2D3ZKRIKL565W7TIRFLUYL
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Duration: 00:00:21
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: Hundreds of young people and politicians from different Italian political parties held a joint demonstration demanding that the Iranian students who protested against Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month are not hurt.
They gathered near the Iranian embassy in Rome on Thursday (December 21) around a large banner reading (Italian): "Where Are They Now?".
"This public demonstration wants to be a simple, pacific demonstration of many different youth groups who, maybe for the first time, are saying the same thing: they are against every form of repression," explained one of the demonstrators.
"These (Iranian) students stood as a demonstration that the flower of freedom blossoms at the heart of repression and we have the duty to prevent that this flower only lives for a one morning like a rose" said Marco Pannella, the historic leader of Italy's Radical Party.
On December 11, students disrupted a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a major university in Tehran, setting fire to pictures of him and throwing firecrackers.
Students chanted "Death to dictator!" and demanded the resignation of Alireza Rahai, the hard-line head of Amir Kabir University, a technical university in central Tehran, the ISNA press agency reported. Rahai was appointed after the election of Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad was forced to cut short his speech and leave the university as his security guards tried to stop students who kicked at the car that carried him away, witnesses said. His supporters also clashed with the students.
Ahmadinejad - who has turned his appearances before mass audiences into a potent political tool - has insisted that the protesters should not be punished, Reuters reported, citing a presidential spokesman.
It was the first hostile protest by students against Ahmadinejad since his election more than a year ago.
Pressure has increased on activists since Ahmadinejad took office. Dozens of politically active university students around the country have been barred from taking classes this year, and professors who advocate change have been demoted or forced to resign.
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