Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tehran Bus Drivers Strike Despite Repressive Measures

Jan 28, 2006, 01:09 Hundreds of Tehran's Collective Bus drivers, technicians and workers have started their strike despite all repressive methods used by the Islamic republic regime. Many of the employees have stayed home by forcing the Islamic regime to deploy its plain clothes security agents in the streets of the Capital and behind the wheels of the buses.
The un-experienced appointed drivers have a hard time to insure the service and many users are refusing to take the buses in sign of solidarity with the strikers.
Many workers, students and governmental employees, such as teachers, are using the transport problem for not showing up at their works or classes. Tracts have been distributed in the Capital by underground social or workers groups declaring solidarity with the strikers.
Many cab drivers have put their head lights on and are using their horns in show of solidarity and many residents are showing the 'V' (Victory) sign. The move is very noticeable in the Enghelab and Azadi squares. Militiamen are looking very worry and are arresting the residents.
The strike has created serious problems in the transport despite the fact that hundreds of regular drivers and the Greater Tehran's Collective Bus employees have been arrested or threatened.
Many of the arrests took place, yesterday evening, at the homes of those suspected to be part of the strike and the Islamic judiciary is intending to trial many of them for conspiracy. False charges, such as, "Drug trafficking", "Having Prohibited Arms" or "Endangering the National Security" are expected to be use against the arrested employees. Threats have been made against the family members of many employees and militiamen have been deployed in the terminals in order to control the situation. The Islamic regime has also transferred many militiamen of the Bassij Force's logistic to fill the shifts of the arrested employees.
The regime's leadership was hoping to limit the impact of the action by resorting to its usual repressive actions.
The Greater Tehran has appreciatively 12 millions of inhabitants and many Tehranis, who are using this cheaper way of transportation, are supportive of the strikers. The move is expected to plunge the Iranian Capital into a relative chaos, as it did during the last two collective actions.
Users showed, on December 23, 2005, an extreme sign of patience and their support of the strikers. Many refused to take the buses which were drove by militiamen and the domino effect created more complication for the regime, as, many governmental or industrial employees didn't show up at their posts or works while being able to justify their absenteeism.
The same trend was followed on January 7, 2006, when hundreds of drivers made a symbolic action on a very symbolic day, resulting in fear among all factions of the Islamic regime. Hardliners and Islamist 'reformists'. Partial strikes were made and most drivers put their head lights, in the middle of the day, for showing their exasperation. The move coincided with the anniversary the "Iranian Emancipation Law" adopted by the former Iranian regime, in 1935, and banned by the Islamic republic in 1979. Of course, this action had fewer echoes as the so-called "reformist" faction of the regime and most ultra Marxist groups preferred to pass it under silence. Never less many Tehranis, especially among females, were seen considering the bus drivers' move as a hidden support for the message of modernism, equality and secularism of the banned law. Many were seen showing the "V" (Victory) sign (well known in Iran) to each other and to the maverick drivers.
The today's move is putting more pressure on the Islamic republic regime, at a time that it's facing more international pressure. The strike, if extended due to the free world's support, might lead to the apparition of a worker movement, such as, the 1980's Solidarnosc (meaning Solidarity and which was the independent Polish Shipyards' Workers Union formed in Gdansk and lead by Lech Walesa) which was able to rally other cities drivers and various economic sectors behind it and to create the possibility of radical political changes.
Most National-Secularist groups, such as, the SMCCDI and the INSP (Iran's National-Secular Party) are supportive of the strikers and in general of any clean and clear move for a genuine democratic and secularist change in Iran. The two movements' members and supporters have been asked to help the families of the drivers. The _expression of this support and calls on the population to protect the strikers have been made, at several occasion, on the waves of abroad based Iranian radio and satellite TV networks broadcasting for Iran.
The strikers' move and legitimate aspirations are not only limited to internal Iranian debate and in this line, several western workers' unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and influent politicians, such as, the U.S. Senator Rick Santorum have already declared their support of the "Tehran Collective Bus drivers".
In a letter dated, January 6, 2006, Santorum requested from the U.S. Secretary of State to intervene on behalf of the arrested Tehran's Bus drivers and the repressed Iranian People. Slamming the Islamic regime for the persistent human rights abuses and the brutal attack of the strikers, the Pennsylvanian Senator stated in part of his letter: "I ask that you and other senior leaders of the US Government make a concerted effort to reach out to groups of individuals, such as unions and students, to let them know the People of America stand with them in their fight for greater freedoms and liberties".
Without doubt, the continuation of such public declarations and a real financial support for the strikers can plunge the Islamic regime into an abyss from which it can not escape. The result would no more lead to just obtaining some greater freedoms or liberties, but to a total liberation of Iran due to a secular and democratic revolution without any need to any kind of military intervention. The trend has become so noticeable, as especially the absolute majority of Iranians have well taken their distances from the regime's "reformists from within" and some of their docile so-called student associations, such as, the "Office of Consolidation Unity" (OCU).


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