Saturday, May 2, 2009

Iran: Labor Activists Attacked, Detained

From International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Security Forces Violently Attack and Detain Labor Rights Activists Observing May Day
May 1, 2009

Security and police forces violently attacked Iranian workers as they gathered in Laleh Park in Tehran to observe International Workers’ Day on May 1st, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. The demonstration had been called by ten independent labor organizations. According to information received by the Campaign more than 100 persons were arrested, and citizens not participating in the attempted May Day observance were among those beaten.

“These brutal and deplorable attacks are emblematic of the Iranian government’s utter contempt for workers and for the state’s international obligations to protect worker’s rights,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.

An eyewitness to the events in Tehran told the Campaign that she saw five police vans full of arrested people. She described the attack as follows:

“It was about 5 pm. Many people were in the Park. Usually on Fridays the park is crowded. Many people were walking around the fountain where the gathering was supposed to be held at 6pm. Without warning, two vans parked and plain-clothes agents came out of them and started to arrest people. Suddenly, I heard the call, “Long live the labor movement!” Two more vans came, and agents attacked and arrested people. As people resisted, they were beaten with batons and punched and kicked. The attack took 15 minutes after which people walked away because the park was full of security agents who would arrest anyone near the fountain.”

One of the detainees reported by cell phone from the police station in Vesal that more than 100 persons had been arrested.

Citizens detained in the incident have been transferred to different police stations and detention centers. According to the Iran Free Trade Union website, some of the well-known labor activists detained include Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahpour Ehsanirad, Maryam Mohseni and Behrouz Khabazzadeh. Other sources and eyewitnesses reported that seven members of the Association to Defend Child Workers are among detainees.

Read the complete report here ...

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