Teachers protesting in Tehran, Iran on Monday.

Teachers Rally Across Iran On Third Day Of Strike

Monday, 12/13/2021

On the third day of their strike, tens of thousands of teachers across Iran staged rallies Monday demanding higher pay and freedom for colleagues in prisons.

Teachers demanded implementation of legislation, which would bring salaries and pensions in line with of other civil servants, would benefit around 750,000 teachers.

The budget bill that President Ebrahim Raisi presented to parliament December 12 proposes increasing the education ministry's budget by 14 percent but does not identify specific resources to increase teachers' salaries matching the reform plan.

Videos posted on social media showed rallies in Tehran, tens of smaller cities, and most province capitals including, Ahvaz, Tabriz, Zanjan, Kerman, Rasht,Yasuj, and Bushehr.

In Sari, capital of the northern province of Mazandaran, protesters were reportedly arrested. Social media posts showed protestors outside parliament in Tehran shouting "scoundrels, scoundrels" at security forces. A video from Shirazshowed protesters chanting "Detained Teacher Must Be Freed,” "Rise Teachers to Eradicate Discrimination.”

Monday's protests were held without interior ministry permits. Unlicensed protests are illegal, and authorities recently dispersed recent unlicensed water protests in Khuzestan and Esfahan.

Some teachers also shouted slogans in support of Rasoul Bodaghi, a leading figure in a teachers' trade association, who was arrested Saturday.

Bodaghi has been briefly detained several times since release from prison in 2016 following a six-year prison sentence from a revolutionary court in 2010 for “assembly with the intent to disrupt national security” and propaganda against the state. In 2015 Bodaghi was sentenced to a further three years’ jail but the sentence was not enforced.

Protesting teachers demanded the freedom of detained colleagues and the recognition of their constitutional right to protest and form independent unions, both of which they say are curbed by the need for permission for protests.

Referring to water protesters in Esfahan, one protestor in Tehran carried a poster: "My pupil was blinded; shotgun pellet is not the response to demanding water." The poster referred to the crackdown on water protesters in Esfahan 26 November where several protesters were blinded by shotgun pellets.

This was widely circulated on social media. A medical official told Iranian state television on November 27 that 40 people in Esfahan had been treated for eye injuries sustained the previous day.

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