TEHRAN (AFP) -Hundreds of Iranians turned out on Monday for a demonstration in Tehran to mark labour day, accusing the government of inaction in improving their working conditions.
The workers converged on a stadium in central Tehran in the officially sanctioned demonstration to mark May Day but were dispersed by anti-riot police when the march moved out into the street, witnesses said.
“Some 600 workers demonstrated at the exit to the stadium and shouted slogans against the minister of labour,” Mohammad Jahromi, the semi-official labour news agency Ilna reported.
“Incapable minister. Resign!”, “Government, parliament, stop your slogans and act,” and “Death to the oppressors”, the protestors shouted, according to the agency.
Scuffles followed when anti-riot police dispersed the demonstration as people moved into the street outside the stadium, just south of Haft-e Tir Square, a major Tehran traffic nexus.
Witnesses told AFP that they hoisted up a coffin symbolising their demands which the police then tried to break but the demonstration dispersed without any major clashes.
The demonstration came after hundreds of teachers held three protests outside Iran’s parliament in April, resulting in the arrest of a dozen education union leaders from Tehran and the central city of Hamedan.
Low-earning workers and civil servants in Iran have been especially hard hit by a sharp rise in prices of staple food and services over the past months. Iran’s teachers are due to mark their national day on Wednesday.