Clashes were reported between teachers protesting against their low wages and Iranian security forces in Shiraz and Tehran on Thursday, as teachers around the country continued to demand improvements to their wages and working conditions.
Protests took place in over 50 cities and towns around Iran including Karaj, Javanrud, Tabri, Bandar Abbas, and Mashhad, among others. Protesters held signs demanding that imprisoned teachers be released and that wages and working conditions be raised. One sign seen in photos from the protests read "Neglecting education is neglecting the future of the country and the youth."
حمله نیروهای انتظامی به تجمع اعتراضی معلمان در شهر #شیراز - پنجشنبه ۲ دی ۱۴۰۰در حالی که نیروی انتظامی با خشونت قصد بازداشت یکی از معلمان را داشت، دیگر معلمان مانع از این کار شدند.#اعتراضات_سراسری_معلمان https://t.co/8NHULsxXYb pic.twitter.com/zTen09MCqU— Farzad Seifikaran (@FSeifikaran) December 23, 2021
The Coordinating Council of Iranian Cultural Associations claimed that over a hundred teachers and union activists were summoned by security agencies in the last week and threatened in an attempt to prevent the demonstrations from taking place today.
Videos reportedly from Shiraz showed a large crowd of teachers and security forces shoving each other. Tear gas was reportedly used against the teachers as well.
حمله نیروی انتظامی به معلمان معترض در شیراز - ۲ دیامروز معلمان طی فراخوانی که از قبل اعلام شده بود، سومین اعتراضهای سراسری خود طی یک ماه گذشته را برگزار کردند. مطلبات معلمان:- همسانسازی بازنشستگان طبق قانون مدیریت خدمات کشوری - رتبهبندی شاغلان #اعتراضات_سراسری_معلمان pic.twitter.com/YQ7V0m9PgP— Radio Zamaneh (@RadioZamaneh) December 23, 2021
A number of protesting teachers and activists have been arrested and jailed since the protests began months ago. One of the teachers arrested has since been released, but the teacher's union is still fighting for the release of other imprisoned teachers and for an end to the interrogations and trials of union activists.
Teachers in Iran have been protesting over the past few months demanding that the government implement the "80% ranking plan," which would require teachers' wages to be at least 80% that of faculty members.
Last week, the Iranian parliament passed a bill to raise the wages of teachers, but the teachers unions say that the bill will only increase their wages by a small percentage, still leaving them under the poverty line.
The Coordinating Council of Iranian Cultural Associations which is supporting the teachers' protests has expressed outrage that the budgets of the military and other institutions have multiplied while the budget for teachers and "the livelihoods of the majority of society, including cultural figures, have been neglected."
The teachers' protests come just weeks after Iranian security forces violently repressed peaceful protests by farmers in Isfahan amid a severe water shortage. A number of protesters were reportedly killed in the crackdown by authorities.