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Iranian Factory Workers Resume Blockade of Key Railway Line

By Michael Lipin, VOA

Iranian factory workers have resumed a blockade of the country's main north-south railway line as part of a protest against labor conditions in a western Iranian city.

photo by ISNA

Iranian social media users said the workers of the HEPCO industrial complex in Arak blocked the railway line that runs along its perimeter on Monday. The HEPCO workers had removed the barricades five days earlier while also warning they would be reinstated if authorities did not accept their demands.

 photos by ISNA

One Iranian social media user sent VOA Persian a video clip of a large police deployment near the site of Monday's protest. Iran's state-run ILNA news agency said about 900 HEPCO workers participated.

Workers at HEPCO, an Iranian manufacturer of road construction equipment, have staged frequent protests in recent months, complaining about unpaid wages and a perceived lack of job security. The workers also have demanded that HEPCO be returned to government ownership, saying its management has worsened since being privatized in 2007.

Iranian state media had no immediate response from the government to the railway blockade.

Iran has seen almost daily nationwide protests this year by Iranians who accuse local and national officials and business owners of corruption, mismanagement and suppressing freedoms.



This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Persian Service

About the author: Michael Lipin covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin


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