Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Nov. 27, 2018 - On Tuesday, a large group of workers from the Haft Tapeh sugar mill in Shush, Khuzestan, gathered in front of the mayor’s office to resume their protests. The workers began their strike 23 days ago in protest to unpaid wages and the mismanagement of the factory by its private owners.
The Iranian regime arrested several protesters last week but was forced to release most of them under the pressure of continued protests and the growing wave of solidarity with the workers of Haft Tapeh across Iran. The protesting workers are demanding the unconditional release of all their imprisoned colleagues. The workers were chanting, “Imprisoned workers must be freed.”
Haft Tapeh is the largest sugar factory in Iran and employs thousands of workers. Most of these workers are the sole breadwinners of their families, and without receiving their salaries, their livelihoods are in grave danger.
Iranian regime officials have failed to respond to any of the demands of the workers. Instead, they have reneged on their promises and have tried to stifle the protests through force and intimidation. Yesterday, Sadegh Larijani, the chief of the Iranian regime’s judiciary, threatened to “deal with people who are trying to disrupt the country’s order by insisting on the demands of the workers.” Larijani tried to associate the workers with the Iranian resistance and foreign states, which he described as “the enemy.”
But the workers of Haft Tapeh had no fear to take to the streets again on Tuesday, asking for the release of their imprisoned colleagues and their unpaid wages. In previous days, the workers were chanting, “Our enemy is right here, they’re lying that it’s the U.S.," a slogan that has become very popular across Iran in the past months.
The protests in Haft Tapeh are taking place in parallel to similar demonstrations by the workers of Ahvaz Steel company, also in Khuzestan province. The workers of Ahvaz are also demanding the month-overdue wages.
The protests of both Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz have earned the support of many people and communities across Iran.
Update 11:00 am local time: The workers demanded that the protests be taken to Tehran and the Iranian regime’s parliament. “Because the government has still not paid attention to our demands, we should transfer our demonstration into Tehran in front of the parliament so that lawmakers listen to our voice and take action,” the workers wrote in a statement.
The workers stressed that local authorities have only worked in the favor of private investors who have so far only worked to the detriment of the Haft Tapeh factory and are only thinking about expanding their own wealth.
“We thank all the people who have so far supported the workers of Haft Tapeh. Real people are those who don’t remain silent when they see someone else is oppressed.”
Day 23 of protests by workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill
Meanwhile, demonstrations continued to rage across Shush city. The workers were chanting, “We are workers, not thugs.” Regime officials have tried to associate the workers with crimes in order to disrupt their protests and to justify cracking down on them. This is a tactic that the regime regularly uses against worker strikes and protests in order to avoid responding to demands.
Also responding to the threats that regime officials have voiced in previous days, the protesting workers were chanting, “Threats and prison no longer have any effect.”
Day 23 of protest by workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill, Shush, Khuzestan
The protests of the workers of Haft Tapeh continues to inspire the admiration and support of different communities in Iran. On Tuesday, a group of soccer referees from Shush voiced their support for the demands of the workers and posted pictures of themselves holding banners that read, “I too am a Haft Tapeh worker.”
In recent days, teachers, students, merchants, truck drivers and workers from Shush and other cities across Iran have come to the aid and support of the workers, each showing their solidarity in their own creative ways, from closing shops and joining the demonstrations to giving free taxi rides to the workers and preparing food for the protesters. As the Haft Tapeh protests continue, the spirit of solidarity continues to grow with the workers and the other underprivileged classes of the Iranian society.
Referees from Shush support workers of Haft Tapeh