WATCH: Iran workers dress in burial clothes protest, chant against the regime
Workers at Iran’s Ahwaz steel factory took to the streets on Monday to protest while wearing Islamic burial clothes in a symbolic gesture of their worsening financial and psychological conditions.
According to local sources, the protestors walked in Ahwaz streets chanting against the regime until they reached governmental institutions where they continued to protest.
Media reports said protestors also chanted against the deteriorating situation of the steel company and against not receiving their wages for several months.
The most prominent offices where the protestors gathered were that of the deputy supreme leader in Ahwaz and that of Mousavi Jazayeri, Imam al-Jomah of Ahwaz. They chanted: “The kaymakam and the governor are incompetent and negligent,” and “Neither the regime nor the government can confront the workers”.
کریم سیاحی از #کارگران #گروه_ملی_فولاد_اهواز جلوی منزل و دفتر جزایری نماینده ولیفقیه در خوزستان فریاد میزند که:— Tavaana توانا (@Tavaana) December 10, 2018
"فردا جواب خدا رو چی میخواید بگید؟ مگر شما قرآن رو نمیخونید؟ مگر شما دین خدا رو برای مردم تفسیر نمیکنید؟ چرا ما رو به ذلت و خواری دارید میکشونید؟" pic.twitter.com/3GhIkRZiS5
The steel factory of Ahwaz and the Haft Tepe company have been through a long journey after transitioning from a public property to being privatized and eventually reached this deteriorating situation of corruption. For instance, the steel company of Ahwaz was put under the supervision of the judicial authority after Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, who had purchased assets in the company, was executed over corruption charges. Then the company was privatized and the workers have recently not received their salaries.
The Labor Ministry representative in the cases of the steel factory and the Haft Tepe company said on Sunday that employees have been paid two months of the delayed wages and accused Bank Melli of standing behind the company’s problems as he said that around three-quarters of the company's shares are owned by the bank which “does not care about implementing its promises,” adding that the bank has not provided the raw material and this is the main reason behind the workers’ problems.
As for not resorting to violence against the steel factory workers’ protests, some believe that the fundamentalist wing in control of security apertures want to topple Hassan Rouhani’s government by highlighting economic problems and workers’ protests.
Others however do not think this is the reason and believe that Iranian security forces fear resorting to violence since the entire world and human rights organizations are closely following up on the protests.
On Sunday, Iranian human rights organizations and social media pages said dozens from the steel company workers were arrested. According to some observers, the aim of such arrests is to prevent protests from spreading to other cities which, like Ahwaz, also suffer from inflation, high prices and economic corruption.