Iran: Ahvaz Steel Workers Continue Their Strike Despite Arrests of Dozens of Workers
Dozens of workers, protesters, and representatives of the Ahvaz Steel Factory have been arrested since midnight on Sunday, and arrests were ongoing as of Monday. So far, the names of 31 detainees have been published.
Since Last night #Iran's regime raided the homes of steelworkers in #Ahvaz & arrested 31 workers on strike. NCRI urges all #humanrights orgs & labor unions to support the workers' strike & demand the immediate release of the arrested workers. #IranProtests #FreeIran2018 @ilo
— Mohammad Mohaddessin (@Mohaddessin) December 17, 2018
The arrests are part of an effort to suppress the steelworkers’ protests, which reached its 39th day on Tuesday. Repressive forces—including Ministry of Intelligence agents, riot police, and Revolutionary Guards—were positioned in strategic locations in Ahvaz in an attempt to prevent the steelworkers from continuing their protests.
The protesters persisted despite these measures, even though they were surrounded by suppressive forces in some areas. The workers vowed to continue to protest until their demands were met and their colleagues were freed. The workers chanted, “Imprisoned workers must be freed!”
The workers of the Ahvaz steel factory went on strike 39 days ago because they had not received their wages for several months. They have continued their strikes and protests despite continuous threats and acts of intimidation from the regime.
Happening now: #IranProtests in #Ahvaz – Angry unpaid steelworkers have just taken over the street chanting: "The Thieves are free and the workers are in prison'' They demand immediate release of 31 arrested workers & their representatives @bySamStevenson pic.twitter.com/eEpIU0DBDK
— Hossein Abedini (@HoAbedini) December 17, 2018
Workers from cities across Iran expressed solidarity with the striking steelworkers of Ahvaz, calling for the immediate release of the arrested workers. Among the workers expressing support were the Tehran Bus Company workers’ syndicate and truck drivers in various parts of Iran. Iran’s truck drivers have gone on strike four times this year because of low pay, rising fees, and hazardous conditions.
The MEK and the Iranian Resistance applauds the workers of Ahvaz for their persistence and strength and calls upon the workers, young people, and students of Iran, particularly those in Ahvaz and Khuzestan, to support the steelworkers of Ahvaz in their strike.
The MEK further calls upon international human rights organizations and workers’ rights advocates, unions, and syndicates to call for the release of the arrested workers, protesters, and representatives and to support the steelworkers in their protests.
The MEK and the Iranian Resistance say that the regime’s arrests of the protesting steelworkers are another sign of the mullahs’ frustration with the ongoing nationwide workers’ strikes.