Saturday, May 06, 2006

Teachers Publicly Demand Their Rights

Dana Shahsavari, Rooz Online:
In their public gathering at an area belonging to Iran’s ministry of education, Tehrani teachers waged their demonstrations and protested their grave living conditions, and blamed the members of Iran’s parliament (i.e. the Majlis) for disregarding to reform teachers pays.

Protesting teachers, mostly from Tehran, demanded their legal rights. The gathering that started at 11:00 am and lasted about 1.5 hours attracted the attention of a large number of bystanders. The demonstrators were clearly angry and demanding and repeated such slogans as: "Enough of empty promises, we demand action" or "We are not supporting any faction, we are just teachers", or "Better living conditions and dignity are our absolute rights". READ MORE

Interestingly, there appeared to be no uniformed security agents at the protest but there was no doubt that the demonstrators were under their secret surveillance. A number of individuals on the other side of the street where the demonstrations were being held, who were believed to be plain-cloth agents were busy talking to some one over their walkie talkies. A number of other people, also believed to be under cover agents, were filming the protesters from the back windows of a building.

A female teacher had brought along her pay check slip and displayed it to reporters, saying, “Isn't it shameful that I am on the verge of retirement but my salary is only about Rials 1,800,000 (A Dollar today can bring about Rials 8,000 in the black market)? His request was that the government eliminated "Teachers Day" from Iran's official calendar and complained about severe discrimination in the educational system, among other issues.

A statement released by the Teachers Union Organization’s Coordination office in Chahar Mahal Bakhtiair, which was distributed among the demonstrators, threatens to hold two more teachers' protest gatherings in the following weeks, while such demonstrations have been specifically banned by the government.

Beheshti Langaroudi, the director of Teachers' Union criticized the Iran’s president for his unfulfilled election promises and the education ministry for not issuing the necessary permit for the demonstration.

At the rallies, copies of the publication produced by the association were also distributed among the protestors which also included an editorial addressed to the minister of education in which teachers demanded higher pays and the passage of a law that would consider teachers as professional government employees.

The demonstration ended with a number of resolutions that demanded the president and the Minister of Education to be responsive to their own promises. Part of one of the resolution that calls for teachers demand for a salary raise said: "We are demanding job and legal security for the profession, including a more open atmosphere to voice our concerns".
The regime's mantra that "nuclear power is our absolute right" is backfiring on the regime as it reminds people of other human rights the regime suppresses.