In an unprecedented show of unity, nine independent labour organisations in Iran issued an appeal to workers for commemorating May Day. The Iranian regime saw the unity of the independent workers’ organisations as its biggest threats. The regime’s forces attacked everyone at the demonstration and dragged over 50 people on the ground and bundled them into the dozens of vans and cars.
In an unprecedented show of unity, nine independent labour organisations in Iran issued an appeal to workers for commemorating May Day. These organisations also published a May Day resolution with 15 demands.
These organisations wanted to have their own independent ceremony because they have been banned from the pro-regime Labour House’s May Day ceremonies since 2007. On May Day 2007 the independent activists managed to pose their own slogans in such a way that they were adopted by the majority of workers present - even by Labour House supporters.
The Iranian regime therefore saw the unity of the independent workers’ organisations, represented by the over 2000 workers and activists present, as its biggest threats. It had a countless number of police and other security forces’ officers stationed all around Laleh Park from 10am - even though the workers would not be gathering until 5pm!
At around 5.15, as people were gathering for the rally, the regime’s forces attacked everyone who was in the park. They began beating people - not only the workers and other labour activists but even those who were there for leisure - with truncheons and suffocating them with tear gas. After that they dragged over 50 people, including many women, on the ground and bundled them into the dozens of vans and cars parked around the square. Those arrested include well-known labour activists like Ms. Maryam Mohseni, as well as Jafar Azimzadeh, Shapoor Ehsani and Behrouz Khabaz.
As with Saghez in 2004, the May Day rally did not actually take place because of the attack and arrests.
The May Day Organising Committee is made up of the following organisations:
Trade Union of the Workers of the Vahed Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Trade Union
Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers
Founding Committee for Re-launching the Trade Union of Building, Painting and Decoration Workers
The Labour Rights Association
Co-operation Council of Labour Organisations and Activists
Co-ordination Committee for the Formation of Labour Organisations
Pursuit Committee for the Formation of Free Labour Organisations
The Women’s Council
A group of Labour Activists
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
1 May 2009
Source: Deutsche Welle’s interview with Mohammad-Reza Shahabi, a member of the Trade Union of the Workers of the Vahed Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company.