The Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (CCITTA) calls for strike in protesting the death and arrest of students:
Dear freedom-seeking virtuous people of Iran, dear precious colleagues!
The CCITTA has published statements in protest of the systematic suppression of teachers, students, and upstanding people of Iran, along with school news to inform our people. We know very well that the military, the security, and the plainclothes forces are assaulting the schools and educational spaces. During this systematic repression, they have most viciously taken the dear lives of several students and children; from Nika and Sarina to Abolfazl, Esra Panahi in Ardabil, and 14 students and children from Sistan and Baluchistan, Kermanshah, Gilan, Mazandaran, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, and Mashhad.
In the past weeks, the repressive forces have detained hundreds of students, contrary to the laws that consider childhood the absolver of responsibility. While this inhumane process continues, a large number of teachers have also been detained without cause or judicial warrant.
Unfortunately, the Minister of Education and Cultivation not only did not protect the country’s education community, but he and the security forces of the education bureaus across the country have become a tool for repression. By considering it legitimate to send protesting students to juvenile correction centers, they have entirely delegitimized their mission of education and cultivation.
The systematic disconnection of the country’s internet is a small example of the government’s limiting of legal freedoms. The state committed this illegal act in past years to prevent the free flow of information and overturn the truth. Freedom was one of the demands of the Iranian people in the 1979 revolution. Sadly, it has now become the chief victim in the four decades of rule.
The CCITTA has repeatedly warned the state to recognize people’s right to protest and stop suppressing the sacred right of freedom, attacking protesters, harassing students, and over-police educational spaces. But the rulers, in response, have made their methods of repression more intense and more violent, to the point where they even shoot tear gas at elementary schools and forcibly send students to ideological ceremonies that have nothing to do with education. If someone does not comply, they will beat her so badly her life is threatened. They interrogate the students and force them to sign confession letters from based on fabricated events. While they expose children and young people to bullets, they claim the cause of death for the protestors have been from congenital diseases, suicide, and dog bites.
The rulers should know that Iranian teachers will not tolerate these atrocities and brutalities. We declare that we are from the people and that the bullets you shoot at people in the streets target our bodies and souls. The student’s life is intertwined with our lives, and we cannot focus on the blackboard and ignore how the children of this land suffer from gunpowder, fire, and bullets. If the people and the society scream, we are part of this cry for justice too.
Hence, in support of the righteous protests of the people of Iran, we condemn the killings and repressions of the past weeks, especially the killing and arrest of students and teachers. The CCITTA announces the following actions to the people of Iran, especially to the upstanding teachers of the country:
1- This CCITTA announces public mourning on Thursday the 20th, Friday the 21st, and Saturday the 22nd of October in memory of the victims of the protests.
During these three days, we will express our sympathy to and solidarity with the bereaved families of the deceased by visiting their graves and symbolically wearing black clothes, wristbands, and other coverings. We will all attend school wearing black on Saturday.
2- The CCITTA announces a sit-in for Sunday, the 23rd, and Monday, the 24th of October.
We, the teachers, will show up to school on these two days but refrain from attending the classrooms.
By holding these sit-ins, the CCITTA once again declares its solidarity with the people. It tells the state that the fundamental demands of the teachers are the recognition of the people’s right to protest and the unconditional release of all arrested students. We will continue our protests until all students can return to school safely without fear that the government will kill them or their families. We demand the government stops responding to the rightful voice of the people with bullets.
The Coordinating Council of the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran
Oct 19, 2022