Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Dec. 17, 2018 - On Monday, the workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group returned to the streets of Ahvaz to continue their demonstrations despite the violent arrest of their colleagues the previous night. Today marked the 38th day of their strikes and the 24th day of their ongoing demonstrations.
The demonstrators were chanting, “Imprisoned workers, we support you” and “Imprisoned workers must be freed.” More and more people are joining the gathering and adding their voices to those of the protesting workers.
Security forces raided the homes of protesting workers the previous night and arrested 11 workers. The violent attempt was aimed at causing panic and discouraging the workers from continuing their protests.
According to local reports from Ahvaz, there’s a heavy presence of security forces in front of the Khuzestan governor’s office, where the workers usually gather for their demonstrations. A stretch of Naderi street, between the governor’s office and Pol-e Sefid (White Bridge), where demonstrators usually marched, is also heavily occupied by security forces and plainclothes agents. Regime forces aren’t allowing anyone to park their cars in the area and have brought tow trucks to carry away any vehicle that stops there.
According to reports by the steelworkers and the Free Workers Union of Iran, the Revolutionary Guards and the army have also dispatched special forces to different parts of Ahvaz.
Despite the Iranian regime’s attempt at frightening the protesters, the workers of Ahvaz resumed their protests for their most basic rights, which include overdue paychecks, poor work conditions and the corrupt management of the factory by private owners tied to regime officials. The persistence of the workers has inspired the admiration and support of different Iranian communities.
A group of Khuzestan students expressed their support for the workers of Ahvaz on Monday and demanded the unconditioned release of all workers who have been arrested during last night’s raid. “The era of ruling with the tip of the spear has ended. Either give the workers their rights, or they will take it back from you,” the students wrote in a statement published on social media.
Statement by Khuzestan students in support of Ahvaz steel workers
A group of Khuzestan oil workers also expressed their support for the steelworkers of Ahvaz. They condemned the regime’s repressive measures against the workers, who have just demands.
Update (9:00 am local time): The truck drivers of Khuzestan expressed their support for the steelworkers of Ahvaz. “We condemn and pressure and arrests by police and government forces against the underprivileged workers who only want to achieve their just demands,” the drivers wrote in a statement.
The group “Support Imprisoned Teachers” condemned the raid against the homes and the arrest of Ahvaz steelworkers, and demanded the immediate release of the jailed workers.
The Iranian regime’s security forces have ramped up the pressure against the steelworkers who attended the demonstrations on Monday. According to a report by the Free Workers Union of Iran, security forces surrounded the protesters who had gathered in Naderi Street and threatened to attack them.
An IRGC commander named Baqeri attended the scene and declared that the security of the city is under his control and threatened to take further action against the workers. But unfazed by the threats, the workers continued their demonstrations.