There were at least 193 protests in 70 cities across Iran in March despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the regime’s crackdown on dissent, and the Nowruz holiday, according to the Iranian Resistance. Let’s look at some of the different groups holding the protests.
Despite their increased risk of infection of COVID-19 or other winter diseases, retirees held 61 protests in 29 cities, as part of three organised rallies to demand higher pensions that lift them out of poverty.
While workers held 54 protests in 24 cities over various issues, including long-delayed salaries, non-payment of insurance, non-renewal of contracts, layoffs, factory shutdowns, wage cuts, and unsafe working conditions. The protesters included:
- municipality workers
- wastewater workers
- construction workers
- railroad workers
- oil and steelworkers
- sugarcane workers
Farmers held eight protests in five cities over the water shortage, the authorities refusal to buy their products, low prices for their goods, and other financial issues. While livestock farmers held two protests in as many cities over the high cost of animal food, especially when compared with the low price of milk and meat, as well as a lack of support from the state and other issues.
Teachers held three protests over employment laws that negatively affected their financial situation, while students held two protests; one over the murder of fuel porters and one over the merging of universities.
There were 56 more protests in March by defrauded creditors and goods buyers, poultry farmers, and Iranians angry over the murder of fuel porters by Iranian security forces, the refusal to charge a security agent with the rape of two young girls, and a new deal signed between Iran and China that sells off Iranian resources in order to keep the mullahs in power.
On March 30 and 31, Iranians in Tehran, Karaj, and Isfahan protested the 25-year agreement with slogans like “Iran is not for sale” and “Iranians support us!”
Many prisoners also went on hunger strike to protest a denial of their rights, including
- political prisoner Esmaeel Abdi who was banned from receiving family visits or using the telephone in Evin Prison
- political prisoner Hamzeh Darvish who protested security flaws, psychological torture, and refusal to separate prisoners based on their crimes in the Central Rasht prison
- political prisoner Khaled Pirzad who was denied medical treatment and parole in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary
Of course, there have been number of other protests in Iran in recent days, including the natiowide protests by retirees on Sunday.