Iran Crushes Teachers' Pay Protest
March 17, 2007
Robert Tait in Tehran
The that signals their determination to break a pay revolt. authorities in Iran have arrested up to 1,000 teachers in a brutal crackdown. Riot police beat demonstrators with batons as they tried to gather outside Iran's parliament and education ministry and herded them into police vans and buses before transporting them to detention centres across Tehran.
Around 150 of those arrested in Wednesday's protest are still in custody, with the ringleaders believed to be in the capital's notorious Evin prison. Others were released after signing a commitment not to participate in "illegal" demonstrations.
The clampdown follows recent rallies outside parliament, which drew up to 10,000 demonstrators, many of whom displayed banners criticising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government as part of their campaign for higher pay. An average university-educated secondary-school teacher earns £160-180 a month, below the poverty line and much less than workers in other government sectors.
Last week, police arrested six teachers' union leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to stop a gathering that coincided with a planned women's rights demonstration.