Iranian security forces beat and arrested dozens of workers during peaceful protests in the western city of Arak yesterday and today. The workers were all from AzarAb Industries, a large manufacturing and construction company located in the western province of Markazi.
After yesterday’s protest gathering and the arrest of peaceful protesters, workers once again gathered today in the factory grounds demanding the release of detained workers.
“Detained workers must be released!” they chanted in videos published on social media platforms.
Security forces shot tear gas at the protesters to disperse them.
The state-run ILNA news agency confirmed the arrest of a “number” of workers though unofficial reports indicate that around 40 workers were detained.
The prosecutor of Arak confirmed that 21 AzarAb workers were detained.
Abbas Qasemi told Fars state-run News Agency that they were detained for “disrupting public order”.
Yesterday, riot police violently attacked the protesting AzarAb workers.
Numerous images of injured workers were published on social media platforms.
Security forces then went to the hospital and detained injured AzarAb workers.
Police also attacked the factory, where the workers had taken refuge, breaking the front windows. They also shot and took down the factory security cameras. They forced all the workers out of the factory with tear gas.
ILNA reported yesterday that workers were “physically dealt with” by the police.
AzarAb Industries constructs power plants, petrochemical plants and sugar, oil and gas refineries.
The Iranian regime has stepped up its crack down against peaceful protestesters.
Before this in September, workers from the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) in Arak were brutally attacked for demanding an end to privatization in weeks long protests.
According to Amnesty International, “independent unions in Iran are banned, workers have few legal rights or protections, and union activists are regularly beaten, arrested, jailed and tortured.”
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions, despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.