Iranian police brutally attacked activists of the Tehran and Suburbs Public Transport Trade Union over the Jan. 28-29 weekend.

Their strike was violently broken up and nearly 1,200 trade union activists and strikers were arrested. The stoppage had been called to press for the release of detained union leader Mansour Osanlou and senior colleagues, collective agreements, recognition of the union and higher pay.

Hard-line Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who is a former minister of defense, declared the union illegal Jan. 26 and said that the authorities would confront the strike harshly and with full force.

The following day, six union leaders were arrested during a crackdown by thousands of police officers and security agents. On Jan. 28 the wives of four union leaders were arrested.

Navid Shomali, international secretary of the Tudeh Party of Iran, said that his organization “strongly condemns these illegal and repressive measures by the Islamic Republic authorities.”

“We call for the release of all those arrested including the leaders of the union,” he said. “We in particular call for the release of Mansour Osanlou, the leader of the union, who has been in detention since November.”

The Tudeh Party also backed an appeal by the union for trade unionists around the world to launch a campaign of international solidarity with the persecuted Iranian activists.

“We call for all trade unionists to write letters of protests to the authorities of the Islamic Republic demanding the release of trade union leaders, respect for ILO conventions and respect for human rights,” Shomali said.

The union’s appeal also urged sympathizers to demand that the Iranian authorities fully recognize the union and meet its demands, as well as pressing for the trial and punishment of those responsible for the crackdown.

Morning Star (