Iranian students protest at Tehran University against crackdown on activists

.TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Hundreds of Iranian students expressed their anger over a government crackdown on activists in a protest Sunday at Tehran University, the second such demonstration in less than a week, witnesses and state radio said.

One witness, Mehdi Arabshahi, said the protest lasted more than two hours as students rallied against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline administration.

“Students chanted against policies by Ahmadinejad’s administration, which is imposing pressures on the universities and detaining activists,” Arabshahi said.

Another witness, Abbas Kazemi, said the protesters also called out anti-war slogans aimed at the United States and Israel.

Students from other universities joined in the protest and broke one of the university’s gates, but there were no clashes with police and no one was detained, Kazemi said.

Tehran state-run radio in a news brief confirmed that students held a protest at the university, saying the students chanted slogans against officials. It also said a group of non-students entered the university after breaking one of the gates but provided no other details. The media was not allowed to enter the campus.

The university and its surrounding neighborhood were calm after the gathering and welders were repairing the broken gate.

The protests were held to mark the National Day of Students, which has been celebrated since 1953 when three Iranian students were shot to death by police during a protest of a visit by then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

State TV also announced Sunday that Iran’s Intelligence Ministry had detained a group of activists it described as hecklers who planned to stage an illegal gathering at Tehran University.