Iran Focus: Tehran, May 01 A packed Azadi Stadium in Tehran was today the scene of angry anti-government protests, forcing Irans powerful ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to call off his scheduled speech at the May Day gathering. Eye witnesses said that some 20,000 workers gathered in and around the 12,000-seat stadium to mark … Iran Focus
Tehran, May 01 A packed Azadi Stadium in Tehran was today the scene of angry anti-government protests, forcing Irans powerful ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to call off his scheduled speech at the May Day gathering.
Eye witnesses said that some 20,000 workers gathered in and around the 12,000-seat stadium to mark May Day and chants of The Majlis (parliament) betrays us, the leaders support them could be heard throughout the crowd.
The event was originally organised by the government, however it soon became the scene of hostilities towards the regimes clerical rulers.
Rafsanjani, who is also the head of Irans powerful State Expediency Council, was scheduled to speak at the event but was prevented by chants of the servants government should leave us alone and abolish slavery in Iran. Rafsanjani occasionally referred to his government as the servants government.
One eye witnesses said that the crowd grew particularly incensed upon hearing the news that Rafsanjani was using the labourers event as part of an election stunt.
A number of times, when the announcer spoke about Rafsanjani, the crowd started to boo. Many chanted referendum, referendum, referendum, this what our people want.
Near the start of the event, Hossein Kamali, the former Minister of Labour, gave a speech after which mini sports matches were held aggravating many participants who said that they had come from long distances to let their voices be heard regarding the present situation of workers and were instead being offered amusements to divert their attention.
Oh providers in government dont waste our time! was one of the slogans which were repeatedly chanted by the workers.
Many workers registered their disapproval by parting the event.
One group of workers near the top of the stadium continuously chanted slogans such as, Dont let our voices turn into angry cries.
The area around the stadium was swarming with State Security Forces patrol cars, ambulances, and fire engines.
Security agents arrested many of the protestors and mobile phone signals were jammed inside the stadium.
Similar protests occurred throughout the country, particularly in the capital. In Tehrans Jayhoon district May Day demonstrators clashed with security forces.