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Iran: Ahvaz steel workers protest despite security measures

Ahvaz Steel workers' rally continue as anti-riot units are dispatched
Ahvaz Steel workers' rally continue as anti-riot units are dispatched

Reported by PMOI/MEK

 

 Iran, Nov. 26, 2018 - Employees of the National Steel Group in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, continued their rallies on Monday, marking the 17th consecutive day. These workers held a demonstration outside government institutions and across the city streets despite authorities dispatching a large number of security forces and anti-riot units throughout the city.

The workers, however, continued their protests even when encircled by the security forces. The steelworkers were able to break the security forces’ lines and gather outside the Khuzestan Provincial governor’s office and pour into the city streets, making their way towards downtown Ahvaz. A group of youths and women joined their ranks during the march, giving further strength to this demonstration.

 

The workers chanted:

“We steelworkers stand against oppression & cruelty”

 

 

“Mother of all corruption is right here,” outside the Bank Melli branch

"Government, mafia - congratulations on your matrimony"

Workers & youths reaching downtown Ahvaz

“Khuzestan would rather die than live in shame”

“No to living in shame”

Steelworkers heading to downtown Ahvaz

 

 

 

 

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On Sunday, the workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill gathered again in front of the mayor’s office in Shush, Khuzestan, to protests against unpaid wages, the imprisonment of their colleagues and the mismanagement of the factory by private owners. This is the 21st day of the workers’ strike and the 13th consecutive day of demonstrations.

Haft Tapeh is Iran’s largest sugar factory. The workers began their protests earlier this month, demanding the payment of salaries that haven’t been paid for several months. They are also demanding the removal of private owners of the company who have pushed the factory toward bankruptcy.

 

21st day of protests by workers of Haft Tapeh

21st day of protests by workers of Haft Tapeh

 

In response, the Iranian regime dispatched security forces and arrested several of the protesters. But the workers continued their demonstrations nonetheless and eventually forced the regime to release most of the detained protesters. The workers are saying they will continue their protests until all their demands are met.

 

 

 

 

On Sunday, the workers of Haft Tapeh were chanting, “Jailed workers must be freed.” The workers also voiced their support and solidarity with the workers of Ahvaz Steel company, who are holding similar protests over unpaid wages. “[Ahvaz] Steel, Haft Tapeh, congratulation on your bond,” the workers were chanting.

 

 

 

The workers also called out the names of the private owners and called for their ouster. They also criticized the government for its widespread corruption. “This poor country has no good official,” the workers were chanting. Their slogans also included, “Death to oppressors, hail the workers.”

 

21st day of protests by Haft Tapeh workers. Protester demand the release of their detained colleagues

21st day of protests by Haft Tapeh workers. Protesters demand the release of their detained colleagues

 

As the workers of Haft Tapeh have persisted on their demands, they have earned the support of different communities from across Iran. In recent days, political prisoners from different prisoners in Iran have sent messages of solidarity to the workers of Haft Tapeh. Truck drivers, teachers, students, and workers from other parts of Iran have also held gatherings and shown their support for Haft Tapeh in their own unique ways.

The workers of Haft Tapeh also enjoy wide support from the people of Shush. During their protests, many of the city’s citizens joined them in their march. Merchants closed down their shops and joined the demonstrations. Students and teachers accompanied them in their march. Taxi drivers gave them free rides. Children and families helped prepare lunch for the demonstrators.

 

Mine workers in Isfahan express their support for the workers of Haft Tapeh

Mine workers in Isfahan express support for the workers of Haft Tapeh

 

The spirit of solidarity has caused much fear for Iranian regime officials. In past months, similar protests have quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations that call for the overthrow of the ruling regime.

 

Update 9:00am local time: In a show of support, the citizens and children of Shush distributed pastries among the protesting workers of Haft Tapeh.

 

Shush citizens deliver pastries to workers of Haft Tapeh

Shush citizens deliver pastries to workers of Haft Tapeh

 

 

Shush citizens deliver food to workers of Haft Tapeh

Shush citizens deliver food to workers of Haft Tapeh

 

 

 

 

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