Iranian Teachers Call Strike Over Crackdown That Has Killed Students

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

An Iranian teachers’ union has called for a two-day strike in response to the government's deadly crackdown on students participating in nationwide protests over the death of a young woman while in police custody for "improperly" wearing a head scarf, or hijab.

The Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates called for a sit-in for October 23-24, saying that in response to reports of the deaths of some student protesters at the hands of state security forces and the arrests of many others for protesting, "we, the teachers, will show up at school on these two days, but we will refrain from attending classes."

The council said that instead of responding to the demands of the people, the government is creating scenarios and forcing confessions, and "they make the cause of death of the protesters appear to be congenital disease, suicide, and dog bites, while they expose the lives of the children and youth of this land to bullets."

The government has said Amini died on September 16 of "underlying diseases" while in custody, but eyewitnesses and her family say she was beaten during her arrest.

The government has met the protests with a brutal crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights says has killed at least 215 people, including 27 children.

Striking workers have been reported in several cities in recent days, especially in southern areas where Iran's oil industry is located, one of the few sectors of the economy able to bring in money for the government.

In a statement published on social media, the truck drivers’ union in Iran asked its members to strike on October 21.

The Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers in Iran says that more than 250 contractors have been arrested so far during labor strikes in recent days.

Meanwhile, protesters in various Iranian cities, including in Tehran, Tabriz, Mahabad, and Isfahan, have continued to demonstrate.

Videos published on social networks -- which have not been independently verified -- show security forces attacking protesters who gathered in Rasht on October 20.

Protesters also gathered in the Ekbatan neighborhood in the west of Tehran on the evening of October 20 and chanted slogans against Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei

Meanwhile, Reza Pahlavi, the exiled former crown prince of Iran, stressed in a speech on October 20 addressed to the protesters that there is a need to form a "pluralist provisional government" for the transition from Iran's Islamic republic.

Pahlavi also addressed the Iranian Army, saying: "If you still cannot openly join your people, you at least have the responsibility to disrupt and paralyze the regime's repression apparatus."

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda