HomeStatementsStatements: Iran ProtestThousands of angry workers force Rafsanjani to call off May Day speech

Thousands of angry workers force Rafsanjani to call off May Day speech

Some 20,000 workers who had gathered in and around Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in Tehran today chanted "referendum, referendum, referendum, this what our people want" and "the Majlis betrays us and leaders support them", forcing ex-President Hashemi Rafsanjani to call off his scheduled speech at the May Day gathering.
Workers converged on Azadi Stadium from across Tehran and different provinces to celebrate May Day and protest against the violation of their rights. They were incensed to see that rally organizers had turned the gathering into an election campaign meeting for Rafsanjani. Angry workers booed Rafsanjani and other officials, showing their hatred of the mullahs’ former president.
Thousands of workers gathered outside the 12,000-seat stadium and joined the protesters inside, calling for a full boycott of the forthcoming presidential elections and demanding a referendum on clerical rule. Workers ridiculed Rafsanjani by chanting "the servant’s government should leave us alone" and "abolish slavery in Iran." Rafsanjani occasionally referred to his government as the servant’s government.
The authorities sent thousands of security forces, including agents of the State Security Forces, the Revolutionary Guards, the para-military Bassij and the ministry of Intelligence and Security to the scene to disperse the workers. The area around the stadium was swarming with SSF patrol cars, ambulances, and fire engines.
Security agents arrested many of the protestors and took them to unknown locations. Mobile phone communications with people inside the stadium were jammed.
Labor unrest also broke at in Tehran’s Jayhoon district where May Day demonstrators clashed with security forces.
In a similar protest yesterday, more than 1,000 teachers gathered around the mullahs’ parliament to protest against low salaries and their harsh living conditions.
Attacked by contingences of security forces the teachers chanted "the leaders live in luxury, we in poverty", "teachers hate discrimination" and "if teachers’ problems are not resolved all schools will shut down."
Security forces beat up a large number of demonstrators and arrested some of the protestors.
The Iranian Resistance calls on international human rights organizations particularly those defending the rights of workers and employees to take urgent action to press the Iranian regime to release workers and teachers arrested in recent demonstrations in Iran.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 1, 2005

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