Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Nov. 23, 2018 - [Updated at 1800 CET] The workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill in Shush, Khuzestan, gathered in the city’s Moalem Square next to the mayor’s office on Friday for the 19th day of their protests. The protesters were holding banners that read “Imprisoned workers must be freed” and “workers will die but won’t give in to disgrace.”
The workers of Haft Tapeh have been protesting for unpaid wages and corrupt practices of private owners of the sugar factory. Last week, security forces cracked down and arrested several of the workers. Under pressure from the continued protests and increasing support for the cause of the workers across Iran and at the international level, the regime was forced to release most of the detained workers. The protesters say they will continue their demonstrations until all their colleagues are released.
On Friday, the syndicate of the workers of Haft Tapeh declared that the workers will continue to hold their gathering at the entrance of the factory and will decide on how to continue their strike and call for the ouster of the private owners of the company and the release of Esmail Bakhshi, the jailed representative of the workers.
The workers of Haft Tapeh have gathered in front of the factory
“While the freedom of Esmail is very important for us, we won’t end our strike when he is freed,” the workers said in a message. “We started this strike because we had demands and we wanted to meet those demands.”
The workers also reiterated their demands: “The private mafia must be evicted from Haft Tapeh. All of our overdue salaries must be paid. Our contracts must be arranged based on labor laws. Mr. Esmail Bakhsi and Ms. Sepideh Ghalyan must be freed. And there should be no criminal record for any of the representative of the workers.
“We will continue our strike until our demands are met. We’ve been through much in the past 19 days and we won’t let go of our demands,” the workers stressed.
Day 19 of strikes and protests by workers of Haft Tapeh
On Thursday, the workers declined to negotiate with regime officials over their demands and said that they will continue their protests until their demands are met. Over the past few months, regime officials have made numerous promises to improve work conditions and pay the salaries of the workers, but have reneged on all of them. Fed up, the workers are insisting on continuing their strikes and demonstrations until some concrete measures are taken.
Also on Thursday, regime officials tried to silence the protesters by sending a mullah to force the protesters to stop by holding prayers at the location they were demonstrating. But none of the protesters joined in the act and the plot was foiled.
In the past weeks, groups and representatives from different communities across Iran have joined their voices to those of the protesters of Haft Tapeh and have declared their support for the just demands of the underprivileged workers. Students from various cities have held gatherings in support of the workers of Haft Tapeh.
Truck drivers in Tehran, Zahedan, Bandar Abbas and Azerbaijan, and groups of people in Tehran have voiced their support for the workers of Haft Tapeh.
The people of Damavand show their support for the workers of Haft Tapeh
A taxi driver who was outraged by the way the government has treated the workers of Haft Tapeh declared that he will be giving free rides to the workers and their families. While in tears, the driver was saying, “How many times do these people have to go home and tell their wife and children, ‘I don’t have anything’?”
12:00 pm local time: A group of workers from Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, declared their support for the demands of the workers of Haft Tapeh. “The unity and seamlessness of the workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz Steel company, and their determination in reaching their demands can be strengthened by supporting and joining them,” the workers of Sanandaj write in their statement. “Therefore we the workers of Sanandaj, along with our families, declare our full support for the protests and strikes of the workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz, and we demand the immediate release of all the detained workers, including Mr. Esmail Bakhshi. Hail to the struggles of the workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz Steel and other workers across the country who are struggling for their rights.”
A group of workers from Sanandaj and their families declares their support for the workers of Haft Tapeh saying impresoned workers must be freed.
Faranges Mazloum, the mother of Soheil Arabi, an Iranian political prisoner. Declared her support for the protesters of Haft Tapeh. “I would like to declare my support for the workers of Haft Tapeh, on behalf of myself and Soheil Arabi. We are all together,” Mazloum said in a video posted on social media networks.
In support for the workers of Haft Tapeh, the locals of Shush are doing different tasks, including preparing lunch for the protesters.
Shush locals prepare lunch for protesting workers of Haft Tapeh