Austria / Press
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Monday, October 27th 2008

Protests against Former Iranian President Khatami at Vienna University

Opposition by exiled Iranians and STOP THE BOMB met with violent response by University Board

About 60 protesters gathered in front of and inside Vienna University to oppose a speech to be held by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on 27 October 2008. The protest was staged by the coalition STOP THE BOMB, that is actively campaigning against deals with the Iranian Mullahs, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran, and other groups.

Even before the speech was set to begin, some seeking admission to the audience were denied entry to the lecture hall without explanation.

The protest was subsequently dealt with by an excessive use of force.
Security personnel strangled protesters, and knocked eyeglasses off faces. The security personnel insulted protesters and refused to give their names upon request. Those students, who wanted to express their opposition to Khatami inside the lecture hall were thrown out of the hall without warning and by a disproportionate use of force.

STOP THE BOMB spokeswoman Simone Dinah Hartmann is deeply shocked by the violence used to prevent the protests.

"We would never have thought that the University Board, whose members had not reacted at all to our previously published open letter to the Rectorate, was ready to meet peaceful protests with such violence," she stated.

Hiwa Bahrami of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran said the incident reminded the group of the oppression in Iran during Khatami's presidency: "It was under Khatami when the students' movement was violently put down. And today at Vienna University we see Khatami's speech violently defended against the protests of those terrorised by the Islamic Republic of Iran for many decades."

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