Tehran (AsiaNews) - Despite threats of "severe punishment" and massive security, May 1 demonstrations were held in Tehran and several other cities. Labor Day, which Iran has never officially recognized, was the occasion for a series of public events marked by placards and banners with slogans with clear references to the crisis, such as "Workers, congratulations on you Unemployment Day” or" Lay-offs leads workers towards a future black "or" will not give up until we have our rights. "
Eyewitnesses quoted by Kalem, an opposition site, say there were also clashes between demonstrators and police, which had prohibited any meeting, parade or protest.
In Tehran, massive groups of agents were deployed around the city centre and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. There were also marches in Tabriz, Shiraz and Qazvin.
In Shiraz, the protests targeted the behaviour of Gooshte Fars Industrial Complex that put 1,200 workers on the street. One of them told of having to wait seven months for a salary.
A statement in defence of workers' rights was released on the occasion by one of the leading reformers, Karroubi, who has harshly criticized the "militarization of the economy" implemented by the government.
"Along with other reformers - states in the declaration – I consider the rights of workers and peasants among our most important goals and I oppose any kind of pressure, injustice and violation of rights of this large component of society .
Karroubi refers in particular to the protests of teachers, some of which yesterday began a hunger strike to protest against "illegal executions and prison sentences" which have targeted some of their colleagues. "In this day of honour - he says - many of our teachers are still being held in prison for the crime of thinking freely and expressing their beliefs"