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Protests Continue In Shush As Many Workers, Labor Leaders Arrested

Haft-Tappeh sugar cane factory workers in Shush, a city in the oil-rich Khuzestan province.

Following days of protests by workers in Shush, southwest Iran, the labor union at the Haft Tappeh sugar factory reports that up to 19 workers have been arrested by security forces.

Earlier, the Governor-General of Khuzestan province had confirmed that four workers had been arrested during labor protests against long overdue wages.

The Workers Syndicate at the Haft Tapeh sugar factory also reported on Sunday that two representatives of the plant's labor force, Esma'eil Bakhshi and Mosslim Arman and others had been arrested and taken to the security office of Shush (ancient Susa) on Sunday.

Although Radio Farda cannot independently confirm all the details, it appears the two labor representatives are among the 19 arrested, as reported by the labor union.

A tweet announcing the arrest of two labor leaders

The enraged workers demanded the freedom of their comrades on Monday, as they marched in the city and then gathered for a sit-in at the city's court.

Videos published on social media show workers chanting, "Neither threats nor arrests, have no impact anymore".

Earlier, it was reported that on Saturday, November 17, Special Unit Forces were deployed at the factory's compound and its surroundings. The forces left the site on Sunday, later reports said.

Before being detained, the representative of Haft Tapeh workers, Esma'eil Bakhshi delivered a fiery speech deploring the presence of Special Unit forces.

Haft Tapeh workers protest in front of the court, demanding the release of their comrades, on Monday Nov. 19.
Haft Tapeh workers protest in front of the court, demanding the release of their comrades, on Monday Nov. 19.

In a footage of the speech circulated on social media, Bakhshi directly addresses the heavily armed forces, admonishing them for aiming their guns at unarmed people, while the protesters were merely demanding their rights.

Bakhshi delivered his speech immediately after the Special Unit forces closed the gates of the factory. He told them to stand down, as they were public servants, receiving their salaries from people's taxes and should show solidarity with the people.

Nevertheless, angry workers continued their protest rally for the fourteenth consecutive day on Sunday in front of Shush Governor's office, a Telegram messaging Channel, Emtedad said today, adding that there were minor clashes between the protesters and the security forces.

The workers at Haft Tapeh Sugarcane factory have been protesting what they have described as "endless difficulties" while demanding their long overdue wages.

It was earlier reported that the private director of the plant had either fled Iran or held in custody. The spokesman of the Islamic Republic's judiciary, mid-ranking cleric Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei confirmed on Sunday that the director is indeed on the run.

Furthermore, the workers at the Iran National Steel Industry Group (INSIG) in Khuzestan capital city, Ahvaz, are also on strike.

In their eighth consecutive day of protests, INSIG workers assembled in front of the Governor office in Ahvaz.