Elias Norouzi, 16, was a peddler selling vegetables when Revolutionary Guards and Tehran Municipality agents belonging to the "Unit for Removal of Obstruction in Public Places" tried to arrest him. He tried to flee and was killed in the process. The victim's body lay on the ground for hours, alongside his pickup truck and its load of broad beans, but the Guards and repressive agents in the district refused to allow his body to be taken to hospital.
Thousands of local residents, especially young women, infuriated by the callous killing of the teenaged vendor, began to challenge the Revolutionary Guards and soon clashes broke out which went on for several hours and spread to other districts of South Tehran. Protesters pelted the Revolutionary with a hail of stones, bricks and bottles, forcing the Revolutionary Guards to retreat.
"Death to Khamenei, death to Khatami and death to Rafsanjani," chanted the angry crowd. They also shouted "Down with the mullahs' regime."
Protesters set car tires on fire and for several hours blocked many streets and main roads, including the old Tehran-Karaj highway. They also attacked government buildings and vehicles.
Housewives rallied to the aid of the young demonstrators in this heroic confrontation with the repressive Guards, collecting stones and bricks for the protesters to throw. Eye witnesses said women were seen urging their husbands and sons to confront the Guards, shouting "Go fight these villains and thugs!"
The Revolutionary Guards commanders dispatched special anti-riot units to the area to block the thousands of protesters who were marching on Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square with the body of the slain teenager on their shoulders. In the ensuing clashes between the anti-riot units and the marchers, hundreds were wounded and many were arrested. The fate of the detainees remains unknown. Clashes continued until nightfall.
Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, expressed his condolences to the family of Elias Norouzi, while praising the heroic uprising of the people of south-west Tehran. Rajavi urged the residents of other parts of the capital to aid the protesters. He said: At a time when the ruling theocracy is facing aggravating crises, the sacred fury of the oppressed people throughout Iran heralds the overthrow of this regime by the National Liberation Army and the establishment of freedom, peace and social justice.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 5, 1998