May Day in Tehran

Report on the May Day demonstration in Tehran

There were around five to six thousand workers. It was Shiroodi sports stadium [near Tehran] which was packed with so many workers. The Labour House[1] used its own rotten old method for dispersing the workers. Like last year it announced the venue of the gathering in one place and then held the ceremony in a different one! By the time everyone had realised where the main ceremony was being held, naturally a big number gave up on the way and went back.

Despite this, such a big number gathered in the stadium and the Labour House had the platform. It was interesting that the platform had been set up higher than the general level and to get to it you would need to do acrobatics. That, as well as the big number of Information [Ministry] officials, showed how much they feared a worker gaining access to the platform!

The angry unemployed workers interrupted the speakers and the voice of the crowd of workers below made Sadeghi and Mahjoob[2] twice as angry.

Opposite the main gate the united and strong voice of the workers drew everyone’s attention. Who were the people, who on their own day were shouting with such rage and a loud voice “Free political prisoners”, “Free Mahmoud Salehi”?

These were the workers of the Vahed Bus Company who, organised in their independent trade union, demanded their rights shouting with the most outreaching voice and suppressed rage.

In a short while their activist allies and a considerable number of workers united with them and later moved towards the platform. This immediately overshadowed the whole ceremony.

The slogan “Ossalou should speak”, “Ossalou should speak” raised the rage/anger of those above and for this reason one of the Intelligence [Ministry] personnel left his guard post up there and moved towards Mansour Ossalou with the intention of beating him. This he was not able to do. The independent workers did not take over platform, but those at the top were also not able to carry on with their planned ceremony. They were continuously booed. After reading every article of the resolution they were booed. The sound of slogans like “Workers, students, unity, unity”, “Workers, teachers, unity, unity”, “Down with capitalism’s protectors” and “Temporary contracts must be revoked”, did not allow the proceedings to stay under the control of the Labour House officials.

The roaring workers went towards the exit gates shouting their own independent slogans. When the security forces of capital saw that this fire was becoming more inflamed, it once again showed that it is the capitalists’ protector and is only armed for suppressing the workers’ movement. They attacked the workers with truncheons provided by the taxes on workers, beating the taxpayers.

The united ranks of the workers went through the police line and kept going forwards. The assaults escalated. One worker was so badly beaten that his mates took him on a stretcher to their coach.

The militant workers had reached their aims, so they decided to end the ceremony. They, with cheerful pride and honour from their unity and self-confidence, left the demonstration.

It was at this time that the police [snatch squads] began their hunt. People who had been identified were followed and arrested in quiet places. A number of students and a worker from the Vahed Company trade union were arrested. The students have now been freed, but, at the time of preparing this report there is no news on whether the arrested worker has been released. In addition, on the way to the metro station Mansour Ossalou was attacked so that he could be arrested. But the resistance of his supporters prevented his arrest.

In the afternoon the workers went to the venue for the celebrating their own day. But they were confronted with a closed door. As if workers are not supposed to celebrate their day and that this ought to be a day of mourning!

A considerable number of the people who had come in the afternoon sat in front of the closed door until the arranged time [for ending the ceremony]. They had ice cream, sweets and held discussions amongst themselves and on today’s ceremony. A lively May Day was recorded in their history.

Long live workers’ unity!

Militant magazine’s reporter
1 May 2007

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