According to reports from workers of the Iran National Steel Group in Ahvaz, security forces raided the homes of steel workers in an attack that continued until 2 am and detained more than a dozen workers. They have all been taken to an unknown location.
The report said that the arrests were made without warrants.
The detained steel workers were initially identified as 15 people including Meisam Ali Ghanavati, Esa Marie, Amin Alavani, Morteza Akbarian, Taregh Khalghi, Massoud Efri, Jafar Sobhani, Mostafa Abiat, Gharib Havizavi, Hossein Davoudi, Karim Siahi, Meisam Ale Mehdi, Hamed Baseri, Hafez Kan’ani, and Hamed Judaki.
The Telegram channel of the Free Iran Labor Union later said that security forces were unable to arrest Hossein Davoudi and Meisam Ale Mehdi. Many workers spent the night on the street in an attempt to evade arrest.
The ILNA state-run news agency also announced the arrest of the workers and said that more than 10 steel factory workers were detained in Ahvaz.
“We do not know why they were arrested and our information is only limited to what we have heard,” the Public Affairs head of the Ahvaz Labor Department told ILNA.
“Security systems are obviously informed about the arrest of workers and since the issue is not related to conflicts between workers and employers, the Labor Department has not been notified,” he added.
ILNA said that the Ahvaz Prosecutor refused to make comments about the arrests and told ILNA’s reporter that he was not willing to talk about the issue over the phone.
In yesterday’s rally which marked the 37th day of the Iran National Steel Group workers protests, outspoken labor activist Karim Siahi, who was detained last night, had challenged the Iranian regime in his speech.
“Don’t be afraid if they arrest you, threaten you or execute you,” he had cried out to the workers.
The workers came out today in full force despite the arrests and called for the release of their colleagues.
“Detained workers must be released,” they cried out in unison.
Faced with security forces, riot police, undercover police and even Revolutionary Guards Corps and Basij forces, the workers also chanted, “We support you detained worker” and were determined to continue their protests.
The Iran National Steel Group workers are demanding the transfer of the factory back to the public sector, their unpaid wages and the release of all detained workers.
This article was first published by irannewswire