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Farmers and teachers protest in Isfahan

Security Forces Attack Peaceful Water Rights Protest in Isfahan 

Farmers and teachers protest in Isfahan

On the midst of the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution against the Shah’s dictatorship, farmers, teachers and others took is to the streets to demand their rights. The peaceful protest was attacked by regime forces.

The MEK sources inside Iran reported on Thursday, February 7th, that the security forces in Iran attacked hundreds of protesters, many of whom were teachers, during a demonstration for water rights in Isfahan.

The protesters assembled near the Zayanderud River earlier that day to demand that the regime allow the river to flow through the Isfahan region so that farmers there can water their crops. Over the past nine years, the regime has built factories upstream of the river and diverted water to other regions. This has dried the river before it could reach Isfahan. The once prosperous farmers in the region have been left without water to irrigate their crops. Agriculture is the primary industry in Isfahan, so virtually everyone in the province has been affected by the loss of water. Farmers in Isfahan have been protesting for water rights off and on for the past year, but their concerns were dismissed until recently.

A Temporary Solution

The regime recently bowed to public pressure and opened the river, after more than a year of protests by Isfahan’s farmers, allowing the waters of the Zayanderud to flow once more into the region. Videos on social media show water flowing under the Khaju Bridge for the first time in nine years. Locals celebrated the return of water to Isfahan. One man was so overcome with joy that he kissed the ground. The regime has only agreed to open the Zayanderud temporarily, though, so protesters gathered on Thursday to demand that the Iranian regime make the change permanent.

The protesters chanted: “A nation has never seen such injustice!”; “Teachers would rather die than face dishonor!”; and “Our enemy is right here; they lie when they say it’s the U.S.!”

Teacher Protesters

Reports from the MEK network indicate that many of the protesters were teachers from Isfahan who spread the word to others, asking them to join the protest. People from various sectors of society heeded the call and also participated in the protest. Pictures of the protest shared on social media show teachers holding up photographs of fellow teachers who have been imprisoned for participating in labor unions or taking part in teachers’ strikes and protests over the past few months. Teachers across Iran have staged a number of strikes and protests to demand better pay and working conditions, the right to form labor unions, and the release of their imprisoned colleagues. The regime has responded by arresting and imprisoning teachers for protesting and ignoring their demands.

Tear Gas and Pepper Spray

Regime security forces arrived on the scene of the rally and attacked the peaceful protesters with tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to end the demonstration and disperse the protesters. The Iranian people have been protesting for over a year though, and no longer fear the regime or its security forces, so the protesters were not deterred. The people chanted, “Don’t be afraid, we’re all together!” and “We are teachers, not criminals!” to the security forces as they attacked.

Regime Suppression

The regime has been quick to suppress any rally or other forms of dissent, fearing that protests could spread and lead to calls for regime change. Since the massive nationwide uprising began in December 2017, anti-regime protests have threatened to topple the mullahs and replace them with a democratic alternative. The MEK has grown in popularity, which terrifies the regime, who sees the MEK as an existential threat. The theocratic regime has responded to the widespread unrest with a brutal crackdown of all dissent, arresting thousands, imposing harsh criminal sentences, executing citizens in large numbers, torturing detainees, targeting protesters and political activists for harassment, and engaging in terrorist activities on European soil against the MEK.

Despite these brutal acts of suppression, the people of Iran have not ceased their calls for regime change and continue to protest for freedom from the mullahs’ rule.

Staff Writer

 

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Map of Protests in Iran-April and May 2018

MEK Network: A Summary of Protests in Iran in April 2018

Map of Protests in Iran-April and May 2018

SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF RECENT PROTESTS IN IRAN-Credit to irane-ma.com

A recent report from Our Iran described protests in Iran during the month of April 2018. The report that is mainly based on reports from the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) network inside Iran, indicates that there were a total of 452 protests and gatherings last month in Iran, averaging 15 per day. Protesters came from all walks of life, from farmers to teachers to those looted by financial institutions. Women and youth made up a sizable proportion of those protesting. The April protests can be broken down as follows:

 

  • Labor protests: 109
  • Plundered people protests: 39
  • Student protests: 16
  • Retiree protests: 7
  • Teacher protests: 8
  • Other sectors: 245

 

Workers

Reports from MEK’s network, shows, labor protests made up a large percentage of total protests in April. Workers protested for many reasons, including lack of employment, dismissals, failure of employers to pay wages, job uncertainty, and recruitment of non-partisan forces.

 

Victims of Plundering

Protests by looted people took place in 13 cities across Iran in April. Women played a large part in these protests. Protesters closed buildings and looted businesses, throwing garbage and rotten eggs and fruit at the businesses that looted their financial accounts.

 

Retirees

Retirees protested in two cities in Iran this April. They protested the retirement age, lack of benefits and matching funds for retirees, and the inability to achieve the required years of service in order to retire.

 

Teachers

MEK network also reports that Iranian teachers gathered in five different cities to protest the withholding of their salaries for months and sometimes up to a year. A number of teachers resigned en masse in response to rumors that Director General of Education was going to be dismissed. And teachers protested for the release of Mohammad Habibi, a teacher who was detained by the regime. After a series of protests for his freedom, the regime bowed to pressure and released him.

 

Students

University students held protests in eight cities across Iran in April. They had a variety of concerns, including the firing of a professor, more possible firings of faculty, poor food quality on campuses, mismanagement and corruption by university officials, and poor wages and employment status. Students also protested in support of striking businessmen and marketers in Kurdistan.

 

Other Protests

Another 245 protests reported by MEK sources in Iran in 73 cities did not fit into any of the above categories. The protesters and their causes were varied and diverse. There were protests against closing border crossings and increasing tariffs. Kurdish businessmen and marketers protested an offensive characterization by state media. Farmers protested against poor economic conditions. Farmers and many other citizens protested unfair water rights and lack of access to water.

 

The number of protests grew from March to April as the widespread uprising against the ruling regime continues. May is on pace to surpass the April protests.

Staff Writer

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