On a hot summer day in 1999, some brave students were peacefully protesting the shutdown of Salam newspaper and parliament's passage of a new law limiting freedom of the press. This is how it all started. Later that day, when the students were sound asleep in their dormitories the attack started, a couple of hours after midnight, plainclothes Basij militia and Ansar-e-Hezbollah stormed the dormitories, broke down doors, smashed furniture and wounded several students and killed at least one. They destroyed student rooms and properties and they threw some of the students out of balconies on the third floor onto the pavement below, crushing their bones and leaving one paralyzed. According to witnesses of that day, 300 people were wounded and they claim 17 students were killed, authorities acknowledge just the death of Ezzat Ebrahim-Nejad.
|9 July 1999 student uprising in Tehran|
This vicious attack was the spark that led the peaceful protests in University campus onto the streets of Tehran. Approximately 50 000 students participated in the demonstrations and many ordinary Tehran citizens joined them. As days passed the protests spread across Iran and students in other major cities such as Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Esfahan joined the uprising. In Tabriz, the police forces entered the universities and brutally attacked students, four students were killed and several students were tortured in custody. Saeed Zeinali disappeared after his arrest by security forces. 18 years later his mother is still waiting for his return. During this time Khatami reported having said: «If you are the people, then I am the enemy of the people.» The true face of the regime was finally revealed.
The student uprising on July 9, 1999, is considered to be the first massive uprising initiated by the generation born under the Islamic Republic Regime. This uprising is considered to be a foundation for the Green Movement of 2009.