Iran’s volatile cities saw widespread protests by nurses and teachers as well as by retirees all across the country. Women make up a great portion of these social strata, and so they played an active and extensive role in these protests.
Widespread protests by nurses
Iranian nurses held protests in Tehran and Shiraz, capital of Fars Province in southern Iran.
Nurses working at the Central Hospital of Shiraz held a gathering in protest of their low wages on January 25, 2021. They chanted, “Long live justice.”
The nurses participating in this protest said: “Despite inquiries of the healthcare staff, the hospital authorities refuse to enforce the directive by the Department of Labor ordering them to increase their workers’ wages.”
The Central Hospital of Shiraz is a private hospital and is not obliged to implement government orders.
On January 24, the nurses and staff of Tehran’s Milad Hospital also held a protest. Milad Hospital is one of the main hospitals receiving the COVID-19 patients. Milad Hospital nurses and staff demand raise in fees, a 50% increase in their wages, and official contract with the Health Ministry.
The protesting nurses chanted, “Lack of respect and reduction of salaries is not what we deserve for our sacrifices. Raises are our inalienable right.”
The staff and nurses of Milad Hospital also held protests on January 12, 2021.
The protests by this selfless strata of working people has been widely covered by the Iranian media.
Casual teachers working in Abadan, in southwestern Khuzestan Province, held a protest outside the building of the House of the Nation in this city on January 25, 2021. They demanded their names be registered in the list of candidates for official employment by the Department of Education in this province.
Simultaneously, a group of pre-school teachers who have been expelled from the schools in Baghmak county held a protest against their own unemployment.
In the southern province of Kerman, casual teachers and instructors of the literacy movement working in the city of Sirjan held a protest outside the Department of Education in this city. They demanded determination of their occupation status.
Earlier, on January 20, 2021, a group of literacy movement and pre-school teachers held a protest outside the parliament in Tehran. The teachers had converged on the capital from various cities to demand disposition of their employment status.
The protesters spent the night in a park across from the parliament to be able to gather again and continue their protest the next morning.
Pre-school teachers in the Province of Khuzestan in southwestern Iran held a protest simultaneous with the Minister of Education’s visit to the province on January 21. They said the governor of Khuzestan helped the minister leave from a back door while the protesting teachers were waiting in the cold for more than four hours to see the minister.
Protests by retirees
The retirees and social security pensioners held a nationwide protest in 17 provinces and 22 cities on Tuesday morning, January 26, 2021. Most retirees are not able to work and earn an income while they suffer from various illnesses.
Large numbers of retirees rallied in front of the Ministry of Labor in Tehran despite various deterrent and repressive measures. Retirees also held protests in Isfahan, Ahvaz, Mashhad, Shiraz, Tabriz, Rasht, Sari, Ilam, Qazvin, Karaj, Kermanshah, Ardabil, Neyshabur, Khorramabad, Hamedan, Arak, Shush, Sanandaj, Borujerd, Kerman, and Bojnurd in front of the Social Security Organization or the governor’s office and protested against their living conditions and unpaid wages. The demonstrators also demanded a revision in formulas to equalizing salaries and the paying off of the State’s debts to the Social Security Administration.
The protesters chanted, “Only by taking it to the streets, we will be able to obtain our rights,” “We will not rest until we obtain our rights,” “Down with the deceptive government,” “We express our outrage against these discriminations,” “Our main demand is to level wages according to the inflation,” “We are all together to eliminate discrimination,” and “Our baskets are empty, enough is enough.”
Social security retirees had held another protest in Tehran the day before outside the Budget and planning organization.