Iran Khodro Auto Workers Begin Work Slowdown to Protest the Regime
By Al Giordano
The workers of the Khodro automobile company in Iran today issued the following declaration (translated for The Field from the original Farsi by Iraj Omidvar):
Strike in Iran Khodro:
We declare our solidarity with the movement of the people of Iran.
Autoworker, Fellow Laborers (Laborer Friends): What we witness today, is an insult to the intelligence of the people, and disregard for their votes, the trampling of the principles of the Constitution by the government. It is our duty to join this people's movement.
We the workers of Iran Khodro, Thursday 28/3/88 in each working shift will stop working for half an hour to protest the suppression of students, workers, women, and the Constitution and declare our solidarity with the movement of the people of Iran. The morning and afternoon shifts from 10 to 10:30. The night shift from 3 to 3:30.
Laborers of IranKhodor
This announcement - to my knowledge this is the first place it appears in English anywhere - obtained by The Field by the auto workers of the largest automobile producer in Iran, is significant on multiple levels.
The obvious one is that once the workers begin to flex their muscles on the means of production, no illegitimate regime can continue standing.
Another is that it reveals the malicious lie spread by some that the Iranian resistance is an upper class phenomenon restricted to one or two regions for what it is: untrue.
Another is that it reminds us that the early resistance movement that led to the toppling of the Shah in the 1970s was not primarily theological, but secular and from the left. These workers, many of them, are the children and grandchildren of union organizers and members from that era. They remember.
If the aut o workers work slowdown and protest begins to spread to oil workers and other sectors of industrial labor, watch out. That is the one factor that could most hasten the fall of the regime.
(Note: the photo above is a file photo of Iran Khodro workers, not taken today.)
Update I: Translations of original news reports in Farsi are starting to come in. The following are also by Iraj Omidvar...
The slogans carried by the people in photos published by BBC Persian are as follows:
Epic of Chaff and Straws
Martyred brother, sleep in eternal paradise. I am awake in defense of your blood.
Congratulations, Brother, on Your Martyrdom
Imam Khomeini, You Are Not Here to See that They Stole Our Votes and Smeared Our Blood on Dirt
Democracy (image of leaves and branches growing from a baton)
Give Us Our Votes Back!!! (English)
Where Is My Vote? (English)
Silence Is the Loudest Scream
Election or Selection? (English)
Selections from the main news article:
BBC Persian sites Guardian as having estimated the crowds in the hundreds of thousands.
Mousavi wore black like most protesters
No sign of Basijis
Apparently a man talking to a Wall Street Journal reporter was approached during the interview by a paramilitary man, targeted the man's neck and killed him...
Update II: Here is what's on Pyknet right now, translated by Iraj Omidvar for The Field:
MAIN HEADLINE: News from behind the coup curtain: Proposal for a referendum for accepting or rejecting the election results.
In some informed quarters in Iran, it is being said: H. Rafsanjani has informed A. Khamenei of the results of his consultations in Qom. Some have interpreted these consultations and their result as a call for assembling the Council of Experts behind closed door with some of the main figures of the Council. What has been divulged through hints about these consultations is that it has been suggested to the leader, that he for ending the current situation, without supporting any side, should support a national referendum to answer people's question of ""whether they accept or do not accept the election results." The results of this referendum will decide whether a new (presidential) election is needed or no. . . . .
NOTICE: It has been reported from the demonstration in remembrance of the victims of the people's protest against the coup of Khordad 22 in Tehran that Mir Hossein Mousavi, at the end of his short speech to the people, has said that in order to avoid conflict and violent activities, the Green Movement will not participate in tomorrow's Friday prayers in Tehran.
Update III: Here's a super-interesting report from Al Jazeera about the Ayatollah Khamenei and his "big speech" tomorrow that is intended to save his ass set things right:
The Supreme Leader has many options on the table, from annulling the election to announcing a violent crackdown on the resistance. Friday is going to be a very interesting day...
Update IV: Andrew Sullivan's got a gripping YouTube video up from the city of Ifsahan, filmed from a rooftop in an apartment complex where Basij "revolutionary militias" are raiding homes. Here's a summary of what is being said by the video makers on the roof:
The man and woman speaking are seemingly family from this neighborhood. They are witnessing (and saying this on the video in disbelief) the attack of the basijis on people's homes, they are invading people's homes and shooting at them, chasing them up to their own roofs and shooting them down.
The woman speaking is trying to reach her mother but the phone calls don't go through. She is taking the video and crying at the injustice, saying "How can I take this video and just watch people getting killed inside their own homes." The man yells at the basijs or police "Shame on you heartless people, don't shoot at people" and the woman cries out "I hope you all die" and the man runs off for help presumably and asks her to keep filming.
It's difficult to understand the mentality of the regime's defenders. They don't believe it, but that level of brutality is what they are shilling for...
Update V: Iraj Omidvar translates from Entekhab News for The Field:
2:51 PM, 28 of Khordad 1388 (That's today our time)
According to measurements in the demonstrations by the supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi in the Azadi Square, at least three million people were present.A representative of the Principalist faction (caucus) on the sides of yesterday's public meeting of the Majles (parliament) stated unofficially that according to the report submitted to the Majles from Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf, mayor of Tehran, in the demonstrations by the supporters of of Mir Hossein Mousavi in the Azadi Square at least three million people were present.
Three million in a city of 7.5 million population. Think about it.