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IRAN: Videos of weekend clashes over labor issues show opposition vitality

"We are Neda! We are Sohrab!" the students chanted, in reference to Neda Agha-Soltan and Sohrab Aarabi, two protesters killed in last year's post-election political violence. "We are all one voice!"

Iran-maydayReports and amateur-video clips are trickling in showing weekend clashes between anti-government and pro-labor protesters and security forces in the capital and other Iranian cities.

Iranian opposition leaders have sought to widen their movement by reaching out to factory workers and schoolteachers, two segments of the Iranian population that have seen purchasing power and status diminish under the inflationary economic policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Tensions began to rise steadily in the days before international workers' day on May 1 and Iran's teachers' day on May 2. 

Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi delivered a speech posted to YouTube Thursday voicing solidarity with workers.

"What on earth [do you think] laborers and teachers want?" he was quoted as saying. "They want justice and freedom."

Kayhan, the hard-line mouthpiece of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, accused Mousavi and other opposition leaders of "instigating [workers] in line with Western enemies and their plots against the Islamic system."

Anticipating trouble, security forces on May 1 clamped down on downtown Tehran, especially near the headquarters of the semi-official labor guild. Anti-riot officers in full gear patrolled Tehran University.

Still, hundreds of students gathered at the main Tehran University gate, chanting, "Death to the dictator!" and "Death to you!" as security forces watched on the other side, according to eyewitnesses and photos and video posted to the internet.

Ahmadinejad delivered a speech to a select group of laborers in the auditorium of the Interior Ministry. The laborers were brought by bus from state-owned factories. According to an eyewitness, even some of those workers were agitated and angry and tried to talk with the president to plead for better working conditions, but the president's bodyguards encircled him and hindered access.

After Ahmadinejad went to Tehran University's School of Medical Science without prior notice, students also gathered in protest.

As the afternoon wore on, clashes broke out in the sides streets around downtown Tehran near the Labor and Welfare Ministry. Dozens were reported injured, but there were no confirmed reports of arrests. 

On Sunday, teachers gathered in front of the former parliament near the office of Khamenei. 

There were also reports of demonstrations in other cities including Tabriz, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Qazvin and Esfahan. 

A source in Esfahan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a number of people were injured and detained in the protests. One eyewitness said laid-off workers clashed with law enforcement. At least 16 were reportedly injured. 

The witness said workers and students surrounded the Dastgerd police station. When they tried to seize it, police opened fire. 

In Flaverjan, a working-class section of the city of Khomeinishahr, clashes broke out between anti-riot police and protesters, many of them unemployed laborers who threatened police with machetes and sticks.

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: A picture said to be of a group of protesters in downtown Tehran on May 1. Credit: Facebook

Videos: Clips show protesters and police on May 1 in Tehran. Credit: YouTube

Comments () | Archives (6)

Those who try to compare this to other places and cases around the world are either ignorant or bloody supporters of the Un-Islamic Regime!! As the regime has approved the execution of two more arrested protesters, you should ask yourself dose that happen in Cal State, Berlin or Athens?!! Not too bright are you? Sam, b, An...
Long live the Iranian democratic & secular movement, as it prepares to trash the barbaric regime into the dustbin of history.

Well, the crowds in Berlin and Hamburg and in Athens were much bigger this May 1.

But the regimes in Germany and Greece send in the police and stopped the protests.

I wonder why there is no concern about that in the U.S. of A.

You better shut up Sam. Di you just drink your sandis?

We all know you get money from those Mullahs who are loaded with money from oil of iran who must be used to Iranian civlians.. not you basiji sandiskhor

Sam, Anonymous,

Tea Party rallies take place in a country where public demonstrations are allowed. Yes, police misconduct can happen, but it is NOT practically institutionalised like in Iran. It is very brave of these people to come out, shame on you, they are risking their lives to protest against this un-Islamic regime.

And even if the demonstration is small, this is a sign of the fact that the country is still divided after the election. With a worsening economy, and all the abuses of prisoners, I doubt those who marched in June changed their mind about the government.

I have no doubt we will see the mullahs thrown out soon- by the Iranian people. No American intervention please, let's leave this home-grown revolt to forment on its own.

OHH PLLLLEEEASE

You call this a demonstration?? Can you stop clutching at straws and move on!

There is no internal revolt in Iran! You guys look pretty pathetic painting this as something its not! These are a few teenagers that know they will get published in the biggest media outlets in the USA if they video themselves climbing over fences.

Get over it!

That's "vitaility"? I live in a blue state in a blue county, and our local Tea Party rally was far more "vital" than anything shown in the those videos.

A more comparable rally to that at U of Tehran was the demonstration not too long ago at Cal State SF, where students protested fee hikes. Kind'a puts things all in perspective- don't you think?


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