Teachers Protest in Isfahan, Central Iran
Since anti-government demonstrations erupted throughout Iran in December 2017 , strikes have become a popular way for citizens of different walks of life and social classes to protest the corruption and inefficiency of the Iranian regime.
Iranian social media exploded with photos and videos of a large number of teachers held a rally Wednesday Jan 9,2019 morning in Isfahan, central Iran. Gathering outside the city’s Education Department located at Enghelab (Revolution) Square, these teachers are protesting low wages and officials refusing to respond to their demands.
Teacher demands include signs and slogans such as "Detained teachers must be freed," "NO to prison for teachers," "Teachers’ future must be secured," "Proper jobs and security," "Teachers must rise to end the discrimination and a low monthly salary," and teachers must "have their own independent syndicates and associations."
Isfahan has been a flashpoint for teachers’ protests.
On December 29, teachers and education workers of Isfahan demonstrated outside Education Department. The demonstration took place despite Iranian regime security and intelligence agents attempting to dissuade the teachers by threatening to take severe actions against them.
Since early in the morning, security forces lined up in the streets surrounding the offices of the education ministry to prevent the protests from taking place. The Iranian regime had also dispatched plainclothes agents in different parts of the city to identify the teachers and people who were actively participating in the protests.
However, the teachers did not back down and started their demonstration in Darvazeh Dolat Street outside the mayor’s office. Security forces attacked used batons and pepper spray in attacking the rally. Clashes ensued and demonstrations continued, and security forces arrested several protesters.
Subsequently, groups of teachers gathered outside Education Department offices. Security forces attacked them, violently dragged several of them into their cars and took them away. Several others were forced into a clinic that was close to rally site. A security police officer threatened the teachers.
Isfahan teachers have been protesting low wages and demanding the release of imprisoned colleagues. The situation in other parts of Iran is similar. In the past few months, teachers across Iran have gone on strike at least twice. However, the Iranian regime has yet to take any measures into fulfilling their demands. In the past months, the Iranian regime has arrested at least 100 teachers and sentenced them to prison and corporal punishment.
According to reports, the repressive forces of the Iranian regime showed no pity to the demonstrators and brutally attacked them. However, the teachers continued to resist the security forces and chant slogans.
In the past months, teachers have gone on strike on two occasions in protest to their conditions. While the latest demonstrations are in Isfahan, similar protests have taken place in numerous other cities including Sari, Kermanshah, Gharveh, Divan Dareh, Shiraz, Mamasani, Kazerun, Marivan, Tabriz and Khoramabad.
Some of these nationwide protests include the following:
• In May, Iranian teachers held strikes in 34 cities
• In October, a second round of strikes by Iranian teachers, which lasted for two days, expanded to 103 cities
• In November, the teachers held another strike, with participants in all Iranian provinces
• In December, teachers and students in Hamedan and Kermanshah held demonstrations
• Shortly after, teachers in Isfahan and Yazd held protests. A few days later, teachers in Tabriz held demonstrations in spite of the freezing cold.
As the trend shows, protests by Iranian teachers are becoming more frequent, organized and expansive. When viewed in the context of other ongoing protests across Iran, the courage and determination of Iranian teachers are fueling and assisting other communities that are protesting for their most basic rights, such as workers, truck drivers, and merchants.
Overall, as the nationwide uprisings that began last year continue, the people of Iran are developing a spirit of solidarity, and with the help of organized resistance units, they’re inching toward achieving their ultimate demand which is to topple the dictatorship ruling their country and replace it with a democratic state.
Association in Defense of Freedom in Iran (ADFI) is committed to defending Iranian individual rights and proud to provide legal and ethical support of their protests for freedom and democracy.