May Day in Iran: Workers turn official rally into a protest rally
- Posted by Maryam Namazie
- On May 2, 2007
- 4 Comments
Workers throughout Iran protested for jobs, pay and labour rights, despite a ban on unofficial May Day rallies. They carried placards and shouted slogans against low pay, poor conditions, lack of job security and persecution of workers.
In Tehran, workers attending an official rally in Amjadiye (Shirodi) stadium, booed the official speaker, Mahjoob, the head of the government-affiliated Labour House, shouting their own slogans. The workers, numbering around 7,000, then left the stadium and marched towards the main Haft Tir square, despite being hounded along the way by the security forces, who arrested a number of workers including Yaghoub Salimi, member of the executive board of Tehran bus workers’ union. Mansoor Ossanlou, the union’s president, was also briefly detained.
One of the slogans (pictured) said: ‘We don’t want nuclear energy; we don’t want £99/month; we work to live; we don’t live to work’. The £99 is a reference to the minimum wage announced for this year, which the government itself admits is around half the official poverty line. Many other slogans and placards called for the right to organise and strike, resignation of the Labour Minister, an end to contract work and for the release of Mahmoud Salehi, the persecuted May Day organiser, who is currently in detention.
In Sanandaj the security forces brutally crushed the workers’ main rally, beating up and injuring a number of workers, who resisted and fought back. Some of the injured have been hospitalised. Those arrested, some of who are members of the recently formed National Union of Unemployed and Expelled Workers, include:
Sedigh Karimi, Eghbal Latifi, Yadullah Moradi, Najmeddin Rajabi, Farogh Gavily, Saleh Rahimi, Jamil Khodakarami, Sedigh Amjadi and Anvar Mafakheri.
The head of the union, Sheis Amani, who was reading out the May Day Resolution at the rally, was beaten up by the police, suffering injuries.
At the May Day rally in Kermanshah workers prevented the security forces from arresting Javanmir Moradi, the main speaker, and Faramarz Ghorbani, a leader of the Metal and Mechanical Workers’ Union, who was taking photos of the event. Workers ended the ceremony early as the police threats and harassment mounted.
The Worker-communist Party of Iran has called for the immediate release of all those arrested and appealed to international labour and rights organisations for support. Please send your protest letters to the Islamic regime of Iran. Please copy to the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the WPI for info and further distribution.