BY Sacha Ismail
Across Iran, workers seeking to celebrate May Day faced harassment and violence from the Islamic Republic’s security forces.
In Tehran, at an official, state-sponsored rally, Alireza Mahjoub, the head of the “Workers’ House” labour front used by the government to control workers, was interrupted by chanting workers and could not finish his speech. Seven thousand workers then left the stadium and attempted to march into central Tehran, but were attacked by the security forces and forced to disperse.
In the Kurdish capital Sanandaj, workers had requested permission to march but were refused; when about 400 nonetheless gathered in front of the Office of Labour Relation to hear speeches from local working-class activists, they were surrounded by dozens of intelligence officers, and many of them attacked, beaten and arrested. Family members and supporters who then gathered outside a police station to protest at this brutality were also attacked.
Four of those arrested in Sanandaj, including Sheis Amani, the head of the National Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers, are still in prison.
At May Day events across Iran, workers demanded the release of Mahmoud Salehi, the long-standing Kurdish activist arrested last month for “offences” committed in relation to May Day 2004. Salehi and a number of fellow prisoners organised a 24 hour hunger strike in protest at their imprisonment and sent a May Day solidarity greetings promising to continue his struggle in or out of prison.
One of those beaten up by police and briefly re-arrested in Tehran was Mansour Ossanlou, the president of Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, who was freed earlier this year following an international labour movement campaign.
Despite the repression, the Iranian workers are rising again! They need our solidarity.