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Iranian Teachers Protest Detention Of Colleagues, Dire Economic Situation

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda June 16, 2022

Teachers in cities across Iran have again taken to the streets to protest the continued detention of four of their colleagues, as well as the dire economic situation in the country.

Video and photos on social media on June 16 showed teachers gathering in the cities of Zanjan, Shahrekord, Ardabil, Malayer, Marivan, Sanandaj, Kermanshah, Tehran, Andimeshk, Saqez, Bukan, Hamedan, Khorramabad, Kashmar, Bandar Abbas, Bijar, Sari, and Karaj.

A strong security presence could also be seen, with some gatherings prevented. The situation in some cities resembled conditions seen under martial law, according to some witnesses.

Some local media also reported that Aziz Ghasemzadeh, a teacher and spokesman for the Teachers' Union in the northern province of Gilan, and Mahmoud Sedighipour, another member of the union, were arrested by security forces early on June 16 before a rally began in Rasht.

Iranian teachers -- along with workers from other sectors, as well as pensioners -- have been taking to the streets across the country to demand better pay and working conditions.

In response, the authorities have summoned, detained, and jailed a growing number of protesters and activists, actions that have failed to stop the rallies.

Four teachers were arrested last month just ahead of demonstrations held in several cities on May Day, which coincided with Teachers' Day in Iran. That prompted the Iranian Teachers' Union's Coordination Council to call on teachers across Iran to hold protests on June 16.

The teachers have also been calling on the government to speed up the implementation of reforms that would see their salaries more accurately reflect their experience and performance.

The council said it recently wrote a letter to the International Labor Organization that calls for the expulsion of Iran from the organization, stating that since May 1, several union activists and teachers had been arrested on "baseless" charges such as taking actions "against national security."

With writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-teachers- protests-economy/31901399.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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