Beginning on Friday, 27 January, security forces in Iran began arresting hundreds of striking bus workers in Teheran, including the leadership of the union. Workers are also being intimidated into signing pledges to give up strike and protest actions or risk being fired. The management of the company and the company's Islamic Council worked hand in hand with the security forces to help identify the workers and assist in the arrests. Union officials said the brutality of the security forces was indescribable. The wives and children of some union executive members were also arrested, but later released. They were taken out of bed and beaten up during raids on Friday night. The beatings continued in detention. On Saturday, as the workers arrived at the picket lines, they were rounded up. Many were verbally abused, threatened and beaten up to force them to drive the buses. Those who refused were taken away. The majority of the detainees are now in the high security Evin Prison, which is notorious for the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners.
In arresting these workers, the Iranian government is in violation of ILO core conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and deserves to be condemned by the entire world. Please add your name to the thousands who are sending a loud and clear message to President Ahmadinejad - free the jailed workers now!