May Day 2008: Events banned in Iran
The government banned all independent May Day events across Iran. They even prevented workers from holding a picnic in a park in the capital of Tehran.
For about 1,000 workers and their families, government sent over 1,000 security forces to shut down the park. Despite these repressive measures, workers immediately moved to another park nearby and were able to celebrate May Day.
In other cities, demonstrations and gatherings took place despite official bans and the presence of security forces. There are reports that many prominent activists received calls from the Ministry of Intelligence asking them not to participate in independent May Day rallies.
The Free Union of Workers in Iran reports that three labour activists were arrested during May Day event in Oshnaviyeh in Kurdistan province. Hamid Athaari, Nasrin Mahmoudi Azar and Aram Ebrahim-khas were arrested at their work prior to the event. Since then, Nasrin Mahmoudi-azar has been released on bail.
Despite the bannings, May Day resolutions this year emphasized workers’ solidarity around the world. They tackled job insecurity, privatization, dismissals, unpaid wages, and lack of independent workers’ organizations.
May Day 2008: Unionists arrested in Zimbabwe
In the ongoing post-election repression in Zimbabwe, the president and general secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
Lovemore Motombo and Wellington Chibebe were arrested on May 8 and charged with “inciting people to rise against the government and reporting falsehoods about people being killed” for speaking out on May Day about the country’s political crisis and the growing repression of the opposition to President Robert Mugabe.
For more and to send a message to the government of Zimbabwe: http://www.iuf.org/den5018 .
Meanwhile, close to 40,000 farm workers have been “affected by the current terror campaign”, according to the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ). These workers are victims of violence and/or eviction from their workplaces. For more: http://www.iuf.org/den5016 .