Teachers continued their strike across Iran for a second day. Prince Reza Pahlavi expressed his support. Regime officials and reformists have been silent. Social media users are hashtaging individual teachers to show solidarity. In some schools, students have joined teachers in walking out. Mohammad Reza Ramezanzadeh, head of the central countril of teachers organizations in Khorasan, was arrested Sunday, on the first day of the strike.
The teachers strike continued for a second day on Monday, in response to the call from the central council of teachers’ organizations to cease working on October 14 and 15.
Yesterday, teachers went on strike at hundreds of schools, at different levels, across the country, and hundreds of photos were posted on social media.
The reason for the strike is the lack of attention regime officials have given to the demands of the teachers union, and the security forces and judiciary’s suppression of those unions. “The sit-in is the beginning of a new round of our protest, and if there no immediate and effective change in the rights of employees, retirees, and students, we will resume our protest in November.”
In another part of the call, it says “The call continued “ Now that costs have risen sky high as a result of inflation, and the purchasing power of teachers and workers has become very low, the education budget is nearly exhausted, and the Majles and administration have not brought anything to the table for older or retired teachers. We are also protesting the disturbing educational situation.
In another part, the statement says “Instead of the security forces and judiciary dealing with thieves and corrupt people, they threaten, expel, detain, and imprison teachers.”
Teachers sitting in their classrooms
Thousands of teachers went on strike Sunday and Monday, and posted on social media. Teachers have also written manifestos condemning “teacher discrimination,” demanding a teacher rating system, the freeing of all imprisoned teachers, no to privatizing schools, and educational justice.
A young teacher wrote on Twitter under the image of himself and his colleagues, “We are protesting everything that is and should not be.”
Teachers explaining why they strike to their students
Prince Reza Pahlavi also sent messages of support. In his first tweet, from Sunday, he said “ I support the teachers strike and call on all my compatriots to join the noble teachers in their civil protest. Teachers have a heavy burden, the education of the next generation, and they should have the respect and appropriate facilities for this important task.”
In the second tweet, from Monday, he stated: “It is not possible to grant teachers rights in the framework of the current inefficient and corrupt regime. Teachers rights can only be provided in the framework of a secular democratic system.”
One Twitter user wrote “ Teachers do not always teach science lessons. Sometimes, like today, they teach lessons in courage and unity.” Another tweeted “ Teachers have found their voice with a civil movement calling for others voices to be heard. Now the ball is in the court of those who rule, will they as before ignore, threaten, and arrest them, or will they act heroically towards their people!” Another user wrote “ The teachers strike was fruitful. At various levels in Esfahan today, many teachers did not hold classes. The security forces tried to open the classrooms but the students and their families joined the strike. Hail to the free teachers of Iran!” Another user praised the teachers courage saying: “The voice of the silent sit-in protest stood up to the face of the bloody regime. Peace to the proud teachers!”
Meanwhile, the regime media, reformist and principalist, all ignored the strike and tried to blame it on the economic conditions in the wake of the coming November sanctions…this deliberate neglect on the part of the regime was noted on Twitter. One user wrote “Remember, at the time of the reform, reformists said if we vote, then afterwards we can teach? Today the teachers are talking across Iran but there is no news from the reformists, as if they have gone on vacation.” Another writer wrote: ”Farmers, truckers, now teachers, these noble people protest without violence, in a civilized manner, against the reactionary elite. Until now all they do is scare people in Syria or Somalia, humiliate us and tell us to eat less kabob!”
A video has been posted of a teacher explaining the cultural problems, saying that “with this educational system, people are discouraged from getting educated, teachers from working, and students don’t learn anything. The only cure is fundamental change.”
The Ministry of Education, security forces and the judiciary are trying to end the strike quickly with threats and intimidation. In this regard, Mohammed Reza Ramazenzadeh, head of the central council of teacher organizations in Khorasan, was arrested Sunday, the first day of the strike.
Reports mention that the Ministry of Education and security forces are putting pressure of school administrators to reopen classrooms as soon as possible. Teachers are sitting in the offices and refusing to hold classes. In some schools, students have joined them.
Also, many short videos have posted of students and parents chanting “teacher, you are not alone.”
Translated from Persian by Banafsheh Zand