Iran: May Day marchers defy authorities

Workers in several Iranian industrial centers marched on May Day in defiance of official attempts to shut them down. In the western city of Sanandaj, placards called for the release of political prisoners and detained labor leaders. Employees of the Khuzestan Pipe Factory in Ahwaz, also in the country's west, gathered in front of the governorate office with placards reading "Deprived workers in Khuzestan Pipe factory have not been paid for 6 years," and "Deprived workers in the Ahwaz City Hall have not been paid for 5 years." Security forces surrounded the march in order to prevent the spread of protests. Similar marches, bringing out hundreds, were reported from Khorramabad, Saveh and Zanjan, although a hevay police presence in the central square of Qom prevented workers from gathering there. Quick arrests also shut down an attempt by transit workers to march in the capital. Ebrahim Madadi, a leader of the Union of the Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, is among those detained. (PMOI, May 3; NCRI, RFE/RL, May 1)

Last month, workers at the Zagros Steel Factory in the city of Gharwe in Iran's Kurdistan region blocked a highway for two days to protest non-payment of wages. After police broke the roadblock, the workers regrouped outside the local offices of the Labor Department, before being dispersed a second time. (PMOI, April 8)

See our last post on Iran's civil opposition.