The activists that gathered outside the parliament building were heard chanting against unemployment, the increasing prices for basic goods and inflation. They were also heard calling for unity and solidarity among the people and for students, workers and teachers.
The people were chanting “High prices, inflation, our people’s plague”, “Down with the worker, hail to the oppressor”, “Workers, teachers, students, unite, unite” and “Government traitor, parliament supporter”.
Security forces were present and the rally turned violent when they intervened. This resulted in further security forces including policemen and plainclothes officers arriving on the scene. Protesters were beaten by the security forces and dozens were arrested.
It is thought that at least 26 people were arrested outside the parliament building. Many of these are members of the Tehran Unified Bus Company. A member of the Iranian Writers Association was arrested, as were several family members of people who were detained. They were arrested when they went to the police station to ask about the status of their family members.
Eyewitnesses say that the police charged on the rally, causing protesters to condemn the violence of the security forces. They started to move to another location but continued to be attacked by police. Men and women, young and old, were all attacked.
Social media has played a big role in diffusing images and videos of the treatment of the people. Videos have shown protesters being pushed around and forcefully moved away from the parliament building, but the people pushed back.
The day before the protests, President Hassan Rouhani called on the people of Iran to “work more”, “increase production” and work more hours to give the country more economic strength, especially in face of the U.S. sanctions that are in place. This is incredibly unfair to put the responsibility of the economic future of the country on the shoulders of the people. The Iranian labour force is one of the poorest in the world and the workers are treated very unfairly, most notably in terms of job security, job safety, and with regards to health and unemployment insurance. Workers are paid an absolute pittance in many sectors for very long hours – hours that would quite simply be illegal in many countries.
Labour Day protests took place in other cities around the country, and the Iranian Resistance called on the people to participate. The workers in Iran should not have to work under such pitiful conditions and the future, as it stands, for future generations is bleak. The regime is losing strength and is in the weakest position it has ever been. Regime change will come with further domestic and international pressure, bringing positivity to the people of Iran and the wider international community.