In an online news briefing on Thursday, Shahin Gobadi a spokesman for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said that in Tehran 6000 teachers assembled in front of regime’s parliament, beginning at 9:30 a.m. that day. The gathering continued to grow despite the fact that security forces and intelligence agents had been station in the area earlier in the morning and used various methods in an attempt to prevent any assembly.
The protesting teachers carried placards that read “I shall cry out, no matter what; dreading this storm and dreading this injustice,” “Free imprisoned teacher Rasoul Bodaqi,” “Teachers are vigilant and detests prejudice,” “Teacher cries out, media censors,” and “Poverty line=3million tomans, our salaries=1million tomans.”
Organizers began calling for these protests on May 1, at which time they announced that the main demonstration would be on May 7.
Previous protests took place on April 16, involving teachers from 128 cities in 31 provinces protested.
It is interesting to note that yesterday the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei implied that the teachers’ protests were “conspiracies of the enemies and vengeful people against the Islamic regime,” adding that “they make trouble for the state by bringing up intriguing slogans questioning the regime’s policies under the pretext of teachers’ earnings.” In this way, Khamenei gave the green light for suppression of demonstrations like those taking place this week.
As such, repressive agents resorted to all sorts of threats and arrests to thwart these protest gatherings.
On Wednesday night, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry threatened the General Secretary and the spokesman of Iran’s Teachers Union with 10- and 9-year prison terms, compelling them to quit their positions and announce that they would not partake in the gatherings.
In addition, a number of teacher-activists in Tehran and other cities were summoned and threatened by the intelligence agents or received phone calls warning them not to participate in Thursday’s gatherings. In the city of Bukan alone, 60 teachers were summoned and subjected to such threats.
On Wednesday, May 6, the hunger strike of political prisoners of Karaj Gohardasht prison in support of imprisoned teachers and workers continued for a third day. Up to 10 individuals had been on a hunger strike in protest over the transfer of imprisoned teacher Rasoul Bodaghi to solitary confinement.
The hunger strikers are also protesting the arrest of Ebrahim Madadi and Dawood Razavi, two senior members of the Tehran Transit Bus union, and the arrest of teachers and workers including employees of Azadegan Oil Company. They were arrested by the regime’s intelligence agents for their protest against mass firings of workers and engineers and their replacement with foreign laborers.
The President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Maryam Rajavi hailed Iranian teachers who have arisen once again all across the country in protest against discrimination, fraud and repression despite the government’s massive intimidations and clampdown.
Mrs. Rajavi reiterated that the source of all problems is the mullahs’ criminal and corrupt religious dictatorship, which spends the Iranian people’s wealth on domestic repression and support for terrorism and fundamentalism abroad.