Teachers’ efforts to stage demonstrations on Wednesday July 22 were unsuccessful; however, it appears that their protests have reached the ears of MPs, who have reacted to their demands in Parliament.
Reports from Tehran indicate that news of teacher protests led to the overt presence of security forces around the Parliament building and the arrest of scores of protesters.
A teachers’ spokesman told ILNA they had planned a silent protest this morning in front of Parliament but when teachers arrived at the site, security officers forced them to leave.
Mohammad Rezakhah told ILNA that the protest was organized two weeks ago, and teachers from across the country including Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Hamedan, Isfahan, Gilan, Mazandaran and Mashhad had travelled to Tehran to join the demonstrations. He confirmed that a number of teachers have been arrested.
Tehran MP Ali Motahari told reporters on the sidelines of the Wednesday session of Parliament that the protesters should be allowed to gather and make their statements. He added that Article 27 of the constitution states that any gathering is permitted, so long as it is not against the principles of Islam. He added that the constitution itself does not call for any permit; it is only a regulation passed some time afterward that requires one.
Motahari said if the detained teachers have been arrested merely for gathering in protest, it is not right.
He said the space in front of Parliament is set up for protests and he regrets its temporary reduction due to construction.
Meanwhile, the deputy head of Parliament has called on the Minister of the Interior to follow up on today’s protests and provide Parliament with the teachers’ demands.
He maintained that in order to address the teachers’ problems, a committee of representatives from Parliament and the administration, including the Minister of Education, is meeting on a weekly basis.
Teachers have been chiefly calling for higher pay and, at minimum, bringing their pay in line with that of other public employees.