Women's Rights & Movements in IranWomen activists freed as teachers' protests intensify

Women activists freed as teachers’ protests intensify

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AKI: All but three of the 33 Iranian women’s rights activists jailed on Sunday were freed Wednesday night, on the eve of International Women’s Day, in exchange for a pledge not to demonstrate on 8 March. Nevertheless, many of them and other women’s rights activists said they would protest in front of parliament in Tehran on Thursday afternoon. AKI

Tehran — All but three of the 33 Iranian women’s rights activists jailed on Sunday were freed Wednesday night, on the eve of International Women’s Day, in exchange for a pledge not to demonstrate on 8 March. Nevertheless, many of them and other women’s rights activists said they would protest in front of parliament in Tehran on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile also on Thursday, teachers staged their thid strike in a week in front of parliament, demanding salary raises and that thousands of colleagues they say were fired for political reasons be reinstated to their jobs.

The women were arrested on Sunday for staging a demonstration in front of a courthouse in Tehran where five fellow women’s rights activists were on trial for staging a peaceful rally against sexual discrimination in Iranian legislation last 12 June.

Two of the activists and their lawyer are still in Tehran’s Evin prison but the others arrested Sunday were reportedly freed in the middle of the night after their families were obliged to sign a document in which they promised the women would not stage rallies on International Women’s Day Thursday.

Nevertheless after their release all the activists save for one said they would stage a rally Thursday afternoon in front of parliament.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning teachers also gathered in front of parliament in their third protest in a week demanding raises and asking that colleagues fired for political reasons, as many as 1,500 only in Kurdistan, be given their jobs back. Thousands of teachers had already gathered in front of parliament last Saturday and then on Tuesday threatening to block mid-term exams and not to resume work in rallies called by 30 teachers’ unions.

Akbar Baghani, coordinator of the Association of teachers’ unions, told Adnkronos International (AKI) that “100,000 teachers, 30,000 of whom took part in the protest in front of parliament, abtsianed from work on Tuesday” and that “teachers across the country took part in assemblies despite the threats of school authorities.”

According to data provided by the teachers’ unions, 98 percent of retired teachers live below the poverty line and the salaries of elementary and high school teachers have not been raised for the past ten years despite rising inflation today estimated at around 12 percent, according to official data. Many teachers are reportedly forced to get a second menial job to make a living.

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