45 teachers of the province of Hamadan were arrested on Sunday April 8th 2007 and then transferred to an unknown location.
According to the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran’s website and other reliable sources, about 30 of the arrested teachers were arrested in the office the teachers’ Trade Association of Hamadan and a number of other educators were arrested in their homes and other places; this included all members of the board of directors of the association in Hamadan. All this follows the arrests of approximately 1,000 teachers just under a month ago.
The Teachers’ Trade Association of Hamadan is a member of an umbrella organization called the Coordinated Council of Teachers’ Trade Organizations which includes over 30 organizations of teachers across the country. Teachers in other cities including Sanandaj and Ghochan have been facing harassments and persecutions by the security departments of the offices of the Education ministry in recent days. The Coordinated Council held its meeting during the New Years holidays and on March 30, 2007 decided that teachers’ organizations should continue with their protests until their demands are met.
The new arrests in Hamadan took place while the teachers who had been arrested on March 14th, in front of the parliament, have since been released on heavy bails. The arrested teachers of March 14th have been facing numerous charges including plotting to hold illegal gatherings and failure to comply with police order.
The Coordinated Council decided that in protest to the illegal arrests of teachers in Tehran and Kermanshah on March 14th, they will not teach in classes on April 15th and 16th. Teachers have vowed to refuse entering into classrooms on April 29th and would also hold rallies outside the offices of the Ministry of Education in centers of provinces as well as other cities on April 29th. If teachers’ demands for pay parity and other demands are not met by then they’ll hold a big rally outside the Iranian parliament in Tehran on May 8th.
Meanwhile, teachers have been receiving support and solidarity messages from other sectors of the Iranian labour movement including oil workers from Khuzestan province.