Worker-communist Party of Iran | 01.05.2006 23:28
The May Day rallies in Tehran and Sanandaj have come under attack by the Iranian security forces. At least 17 demonstrators, among them members of the executive board of Tehran bus workers’ union, have been arrested.
In the rally in Tehran, called by the bus workers’ union and held outside the bus company’s headquarters, 13 people were detained. They include the following eight union activists and five as yet unnamed students:
Ebrahim Madadi, Mahomoud Houzhabri, Yaghoub Salimi, Abbas Najand Koudaki, Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Gholamreza Mirzaee, Hassan Dehghan and Gholamreza Khani.
In the rally in the city of Sanandaj four people were arrested, one of whom was later released:
Hossein Ghaderi (later released), Farshid Beheshti Zad, Hiresh Naghshbandi and Aram Zamani.
Also, two of those arrested in raids in Sanandaj ahead of the May Day rally, namely, Mohammad Javid and Zahed Javid, are still in detention.
Around two hundred demonstrators defied some 2,000 members of the security forces in the rally in Tehran, which began from around 11 in the morning, local time. According to eye witness accounts, at around 1 o’clock the security forces, which included members of the Special Guard, as well as plain clothes vigilantes on motor bikes, started attacking the demonstrators. They used batons to beat people up, dragging them on the tarmac. One bus driver had his fingers broken, and a woman demonstrator was severely beaten. The demonstrators booed the security forces, shouting ‘shame, shame’! The slogans shouted at the demo, and written on placards, included:
Our hero Ossanlou must be released!
Union is our certain right!
Strike, demonstration is our certain right!
No war, no bomb, but jobs!
Greetings on international workers’ day!
Workers’ House must be disbanded! (reference to the government-sponsored institution)
Students support workers’ right to independent labour organisations!
Workers, students, unite, unite!
In Sanandaj, despite the home raids and arrests from several days before May Day, a large rally was held, before it was attacked by the security forces.
WPI calls on all international labour and human rights organisations and individuals to condemn these outrageous attacks on workers exercising their basic right of protest and assembly, demanding that the Islamic Republic immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor Ossanlou, the imprisoned head of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, and all those detained in the May Day rallies.
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist party of Iran
We send you and the participants at this magnificent rally our warmest greetings on this international workers’ day.
May Day is an international day of celebration and holiday for workers. However, in Iran and in many other countries workers continue to be persecuted for celebrating this day.
Last year five labour activists in Iran were sentenced to prison terms of from 2 to 5 years - and one to an additional 3 years’ exile - for organising a May Day rally. However, the activists are fighting these outrageous convictions and have appealed to international labour organisations for support.
The workers in Iran are persecuted for going on strike and attempting to form labour organisations. On 28th January, when after repeated protests, the bus workers in the capital Tehran took strike action to press for the release of their imprisoned leaders and the right to organise, the security forces rounded up, beat up and jailed over 1,000 of them. Even children and family members of the bus workers were not spared.
Against this outrage, the international labour movement organised one of the greatest international mobilisations ever. Following a call by Global Unions, on 15th February trade unions and activists around the world held protest rallies outside Iranian embassies in an international day of action on Iran, demanding the release of the jailed workers. Yielding in the end to the mounting pressure, the government in Iran released virtually all the detained workers ahead of the protest. However, the struggle of the bus workers continues: the leader of the union, Mansoor Ossanlou, is still in jail; hundreds of workers have been laid off or formally sacked for taking part in the 28th January strike and their demands for union recognition, collective bargaining and decent pay remain unmet.
Despite this repression, the workers in Iran continue to fight on. Strikes and protests are a daily occurrence. This May Day workers in Iran will hold their gatherings. Just like last year in Tehran, Sanandaj and scores of other cities, they will sing the Internationale at their meetings; they will declare their solidarity with the workers of the world; they will make speeches denouncing capitalism as the root cause of humanity’s hardship; they will talk about freedom, equality, justice, welfare and dignity for all. Indeed, against the background of a looming war between their class enemies, it is these struggles and this voice alone which points the way to a better world. This is a third force and a third camp, which represents the desires of the people of the world for a better world. International solidarity with this movement and this voice is the best way of ensuring that the current crisis in Iran and the Middle East is resolved in favour of a just, free and equal society; in favour of humanity.
Long live workers’ international solidarity!
Long live May Day!
International Labour Solidarity of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
1 May 2006
International Labour Solidarity Committee of WPI