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Wednesday 07 December 2016
Members of one of Iran’s oldest unions who were peacefully demanding their past due housing allowances and other benefits in front of the Tehran Municipality building were violently attacked by anti-riot police on December 4, 2016.
“Four months ago these same people (bus drivers) gathered here and shouted the same slogans and resolved their issue peacefully after negotiating with officials,” an eyewitness told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “But promises were not kept and the City Council’s own legislation was not implemented. That’s why the workers were protesting, but they were beaten in the worst way.”
“The anti-riot forces lunged at the protesters with kicks and sticks and arrested several of them,” added the source. “Some of those who were detained were severely injured and taken to the hospital and the rest were freed after a few hours.”
Several senior members of the Tehran Bus Drivers’ Union, including Reza Shahabi, Davoud Razavi, Ebrahim Madadi, and Mansour Osanloo, have been previously imprisoned for their peaceful activism.
According to Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution, “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided that arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”
Article 149 of the Labor Law meanwhile requires employers to support employee-housing cooperatives.
Independent labor unions are banned in Iran, strikers are often fired and risk being detained, and labor leaders face long prison sentences on trumped up national security charges.