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Iran Detains Protesting Bus Drivers

Iran Detains Protesting Bus Drivers

Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 - 04:00
People are seen at a market in Tehran, Iran. Reuters file photo

Iran arrested a number of bus drivers who have staged protests in Tehran for the second consecutive day over their living conditions, media in the country reported on Tuesday.

"A number of drivers were detained yesterday during a gathering in front of the central office of the Tehran Bus Company," Mohsen Bagheri, a company official, was quoted as saying by ILNA news agency.

"A number of drivers were also arrested during today's protest," he added.

Bagheri did not say why the drivers were arrested, only expressing hope that they would be released soon, AFP reported.

"The workers do not want anything beyond the law; their demand is a legal increase in wages," Bagheri said.

Striking bus drivers chanted slogans describing Tehran's mayor as "incompetent" and called on him to resign at a protest on Monday, the reformist Shargh newspaper said on Twitter.

Buses were seen operating in different areas of the capital on Tuesday, AFP journalists said, but it was unclear if the strike was continuing.

The mayor of Tehran, Alireza Zakani, met with a group of drivers on Monday and said a committee was looking into the possibility of salary increases, according to state news agency IRNA.

Last week, Iran's government announced a series of measures to tackle mounting economic challenges, such as changing a subsidy system and raising the price of staples including cooking oil and dairy products.

Hundreds have taken to the streets in a number of Iranian cities in the past week to protest against the moves, including in Tehran province, IRNA reported.

MP Ahmed Avai said on Saturday that one person had been killed during demonstrations in the southwestern city of Dezful, according to ILNA.

Iran's economy has been hit hard by sanctions imposed by the United States since 2018 as well as rising prices sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine this year.

Iran has witnessed several waves of protests over living conditions in recent years, most notably in 2019 after a fuel price hike.

In recent months, teachers have held successive demonstrations demanding the speeding up of reforms that would see their salaries better reflect their experience and performance.

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