In response to Ahvaz Steel workers protests in the past few days, last night security agents raided the houses of protesting workers late Thursday night (March 1, 2018) and arrested about 10 workers. Arrested workers include: Farhad Akbarian; Morteza Akbarian; Maysam Ali Ghanavati; Amin Momenpour, Hoesain Nisi, Bagher Delfi, Taghi Hasanzadeh, Hadi Afravy, Mehdi Adelzadeh.
On Friday 2nd March, hundreds of Steel workers marched to the location for the Friday Prayer to express their discontent, again but the security forces prevented them from entering the building and attempted to disperse the protesting workers. Workers refused to leave and motorized units of police were called to the Friday Prayer building, while workers were chanting: “Listen! We are workers not hoodlums.”
The arrested workers with temporary arrest warrants were transferred to Ahvaz Central Prison. There was also a report of an engineer, Abdullah Kaydi, getting arrested.
Ahvaz Steel workers strike actions begun around February 20th with demands for their unpaid wages of the past three months and other related issues. After the company’s board of directors postponed workers unpaid wages to next (Persian year) Steel workers initiated their marches and rallies in front of the provincial government buildings and marching through the city of Ahvaz.
In response Thursday night arrests and to continue the fight for their demands, on March 3, 2018, a large group of workers assembled in front of the Governor’s office in Ahvaz and marched on streets demanding the release of their coworkers. They chanted: “We stand, we die, we get our rights” and “Jailed workers must be freed!”.
According to Judiciary officials, the arrested workers are to be transferred to the so called “revolutionary court.” Steel workers have vowed to continue with their protests and strike actions until all their demands are met.
The arrest of Ahvaz Steel workers has caused a massive wave of response from various groups and organizations. There is also a call for a Twitter storm is support of arrested Steel workers.