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Hundreds Jailed as Iranian Government Attacks Tehran Bus Workers

Posted to the IUF website 06-Feb-2006

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Hundreds of Tehran bus workers/drivers remain imprisoned in the brutal crackdown by the Iranian authorities on a strike called for January 28. The drivers had organized the strike to protest the arrest of union leader Mansour Ossanlu and to demand recognition of their Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company.

Ossanlu was arrested at his home on December 22, without charges or access to a lawyer. On January 24, the union called a strike for January 28 in support of their demands. On January 26, security agents arrested 6 members of the union executive. On the eve of the strike, the authorities carried out mass arrests of union leaders and members, in some cases as they finished their shifts. Other union members were arrested at their homes, where the wives and even children of some were also arrested and even beaten.

Hundreds more workers were arrested on the day of the strike, January 28, and taken to the notorious Evin Prison. According to Amnesty International, workers were repeatedly beaten and threatened to force them to return to work and sign statements renouncing the union and the strike. So far only an estimated 50 signed the statements and have been released. Paramilitary Basij "volunteers", called in as strikebreakers, reportedly took part in the beatings. As many as 500 workers remain in detention, denied access to lawyers and family.

Click here to send a message via labourstart to the government of Iran calling for the immediate release of the jailed strikers and union leaders.