Iranian security forces broke up a Labor Day demonstration in front of the regime Parliament (Majles) in Tehran on Wednesday May 1, arresting tens of workers.
According to a report posted by the Tehran Bus Drivers’ Union, at least 35 demonstrators, mainly members of the union have been apprehended. College students and other participants were also among those arrested.
“From the beginning of this May Day rally, we were witnessing police units and many plainclothes agents dispatching to the scene. Merely half an hour later the workers and college students’ rally began, with a number of retirees and other labor activists also participating, authorities dispatched police units and plainclothes agents to the scene who resorted to violence against the demonstrators. They began attacking the demonstrators and arresting at least 20 protesters,” a statement reads in part.
The demonstrators have been beaten and wounded and at times dragged on the ground before being taken into custody, according to eyewitnesses.
Prominent bus trade unionist Reza Shahabi is among those who have been arrested in the May Day demonstrations in front of the Majles on Wednesday.
Other detainees are identified by the Free Workers Union of Iran (FWUI) as Hassan Saeidi, Kayvan Samimi, Farhad Sheikhi, Vahid Fereydoun, Nasser Moharramzadeh, Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam, Asadollah Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Aslani, Kamyar Fakour, “Ms. Shiri,” Elham Salehi, Anisha Asadollahi, Merdas Taheri, Mohsen Soleimaninejad, Hadi Soleimani, Mehdi Azimi, Mahan Salehi, Ghasem Khalouie, Mohammad Aslaghi, and Amir Mohammad Taheri.
A large number of people rallied outside the mullahs’ Majlis (parliament) in Tehran on Wednesday, marking International Labor Day and protesting the regime’s labor policies. Workers, youth, retirees and people from other branches of the society were seen participating in this anti-regime protest gathering.
Protesters were heard chanting:
“All these corrupt people involved in embezzlement, and the workers’ share is to be in prison.”
In Kermanshah, western Iran, workers held a protest rally coinciding with a visit by Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani. The Oil & Gas Company workers held a picket line outside of their company office, protesting plans to relocate their work site to Ilam, a province in the country’s southwest area.
In the city of Marivan, western Iran, a group of hardworking laborers held a rally marking Labor Day at the Shabrang Crossroad. Participants in this rally were heard chanting:
“Down with oppressors, Hail to workers/ Workers, unite, unite”
“The government betrays us, the Majlis supports them”
“Your pain is our pain; people, join our ranks”
“Workers, teachers, college students, unite, unite”
“High prices, inflation, it is killing the people”
Some provincial officials said the protest was illegal because it didn’t have a permit.
“The gathering is illegal because there was no request for a permit,” Reza Alikhani, the director for political affairs in Tehran Province, told the state-run ISNA News Agency. “The police have a duty to stop this gathering and maintain security.”
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions, despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.
Workers are regularly threatened, detained, tortured and even sentenced to flogging, despite their legitimate demands and protests to current conditions which has robbed them of more than 80% of their purchasing power.