News : Human rights

Protests in Iran Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Iran: Mashhad Train workers’ on strike (Archive)

Protests have been reported across Iran in the past few days, despite the coronavirus pandemic there, mainly as a result of the regime’s failure to support people and small businesses as a snap recession rocked the country because of the outbreak.

In Tehran, drivers at Khomeini International Airport parked their vehicles and held protests outside the leasing company, and the bank that gave them loans for their cars to demand that their monthly lease payments be postponed until the airports reopen properly and people are willing to fly again.

These drivers are not linked to the taxi drivers’ company and are actually under the supervision of the Road & Construction Ministry, which means that they do not get unemployment insurance, special fuel rations, or other such privileges.

On Sunday municipality workers in Ahvaz’s Sixth District held a rally over not receiving their monthly paychecks and insurance pensions since February.

One protester said: “Some workers have been summoned by authorities and we have been accused of provoking other workers to hold gatherings and protest rallies. They constantly resort to crackdown measures instead of paying our salaries and answering our questions.”

Also on Sunday, in Karaj, retired personnel of Khomeini Hospital held a protest outside the hospital and the Alborz Province Municipalities Solidarity Organization office because they had not received their pensions for five months.

Meanwhile, in Ardabil, one local explained that the government loan over the coronavirus pandemic has barely helped because everything is so much more expensive now, but that no officials are willing to listen to the problem.

The local said: “Name me one official who understands the people’s pains. They said they won’t return any checks, but they did. They said we won’t be demanding lease payments, but again they did. They said the price of bread won’t rise, but it did. They said food prices won’t rise, but it did. Show me one official who comes and listens to the people’s problems, and takes some action…. Is there one such official in this entire country? Let’s see.”

In a further protest on Sunday, municipality workers in Lushan have not been paid their insurance pensions for nine months, which they only realized after one of them tried to seek medical care or their wages for six months. The employer blamed financial issues.

While in Nowshahr, street vendors protested outside the City Council building over the authorities’ decision to round up their goods.

On Saturday, unemployed youths in Hor blocked the entrance to the city for the fourth day in a row over the sugarcane complex hiring non-local workers at lower wages.

 

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