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Teachers across Iran protest and demand the release of 'political prisoners'
On May 10, the working and retired teachers in at least 32 cities throughout Iran staged protests against the Iranian regime. The gatherings protested not only very low salaries and the deprivation of minimum job benefits, but also a lack of job security and the disregard of their demands by the regime.

In Tehran, the gathering was held in front of the Iranian Parliament and the regime's Planning and Budget Organization. Some of the slogans chanted included "Efficient insurance is our absolute right," and "Imprisoned teachers should be freed." The anger and demands from the protesters spills beyond the interests of just teachers but speaks to the larger social issues throughout the country.

Dozens were arrested in Tehran and a number of protesters were injured. One female teacher had an eye torn out due the severity of the blows that she received during the clash with security forces. Rassoul Bodaghi, a teacher who was imprisoned for seven years for his political and human rights activities, was arrested again at the protest. Mercenaries were also present, getting violent with individuals in order to limit how much information about the protests was put onto social media.

In other cities, the educators appeared to be calling out the regime's leaders. For instance, the protesters in Hamedan carried placards that read, "The enemies of teachers are the enemies of this homeland."

Why are these teachers willing to risk injuries and potentially their lives through protests in a country ruled by such a repressive regime? Simply put, these educators realize that without respect for the basic rights of teachers, then the students of Iran will be the ones that suffer. This latest wave of protests is the largest one of its kind in the past year. These teachers are sharing a new lesson with their students and their classroom is the streets.

Additionally, these protests are taking place against the backdrop of other protests and demonstrations taking place throughout the country, including merchants, farmers, and even the clients of financial institutions backed by the regime.

Here are just a few of the demands of these teachers, which seem to echo other demands from other demonstrations and protests:

·         Removing any form of discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in the education system.

·         The release of teachers and political prisoners who have been arrested because of their active role in protests and working to restore the rights of teachers.

·         Increase of teachers' wages, as this group is among the poorest classes of Iranians, despite all their efforts for their students.

·         Free and quality education for all children. According to Iranian media, there are millions of child laborers throughout Iran. These children are not being educated in a government-funded system, but instead the teachers are seeing funds being prioritized for military objectives instead of education.

The response from the regime makes it clear that they fear an uprising, so their response is to use force in an attempt to repress any attempts for Iranians to speak out for change. The network of PMOI/MEK has been able to acquire a variety of pictures and videos regarding these protests, including the evidence of the violent responses from the regime.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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