Public space and protest in Tehran: Legacy of Enghelab street

Authors: Amir Khaghani*, Florida International University
Topics: Middle East, Urban Geography
Keywords: Tehran, Public space, Street
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tehran has been historically the heart of social and political movements in Iran. The University of Tehran became one of the main drivers of the movement and Enghelab square embraced the biggest numbers of people in protests. The presence of people on the street and the adjacent University of Tehran, and controlling it as space was a presentation of the power of the people. While royal family’s palaces were way north of the city the place that exhibited the people’s handling of the situation was Enghelab street.
 One of the first ones that Ironically happened in the same year as of the fall of Pahlavi monarchy was the 8th of March protests to undermine the newly appointed law of mandatory public veiling (Hijab).
 Iranian student movements of 1999 and rallies of the green movement in 2009 and major clashes and crushing of protesters (namely the iconic death of Neda Agha-Soltan) all occurred on Enghelab street and its surroundings. Control and presence for this space have always meant power for various groups of people, either seeking change and resilience or advocating a status quo. 
The very recent protests that happened all around the country in December 2017 and January 2018, At the peak of protests, though this street is known for its student/ middle-class population and rallies and this time that the protesters did not belong to the same demographical groups, they still tried to bring the protests from the marginal neighborhoods of Tehran to the Enghelab street.

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