Videos of the striking workers in Tabriz and Shahreza can be seen here.
The protests spread quickly across Iran, following a call for a “general strike” in bazaars all over Iran that went out over social media. Importantly, this strike is also happening outside of the big cities, even in places that are more rural and used to be considered part of the Regime’s base.
Iran’s state-run TV claimed that “there has been no strike at the city’s Grand Bazaar”, which seems unlikely given the reports from the Iranian people, but did not make note of Tehran’s other bazaars and major shopping centres, which are completely shut down.
Tehran’s Grand Bazaar went on strike in June, which morphed into a two-day mass protest and highlighted the unrest across the country.
One activist in Sanandaj, who wished to remain anonymous, said on Monday that the strikes were widespread in the local bazaars of small towns in Western Iran including Saghez, Boukan, Miandoab, Baneh and Marivan in Kurdistan province, as well as Ghasr-e Shirin and Songhor Koliai in the neighbouring Kermanshah province. While Ayub Sadi, a reporter at the Mukrian News Agency in Saghez confirmed that bazaars in Kurdistan province were on strike.
This directly contradicts the local governor of Kermanshah who claimed that there had been no strike at the city’s Dolatabad Bazaar.
This shopkeepers’ strike coincided with the continuing truckers’ strike which is happening in all 31 provinces in Iran for the past two weeks.
The governor of Kermanshah said: “A number of businessmen and heavy vehicle repair technicians protested against traffic regulations in the Bazaar area.”
The security forces have arrested at least 17 drivers and plan to sentence them to death, while reports say that dozens more strikers were arrested.
These strikes follow months of economic crises in Iran, from the huge drop in the value of the Iranian currency (rial), high inflation, widespread financial corruption and unpaid wages across many industries.
According to the Islamic Board of Wages, Iranians’ purchasing power has dropped by 90% over the past six months while the price of some commodities has risen up t to 300%.