An Iranian teacher who was arrested this week while on her way to participate in a teachers' rally has gone on hunger strike to protest her incarceration, the Coordinating Council of Teachers' Union said on May 11.
Ateke Rajabi was arrested on May 9 after leaving her home to take part in a protest in the north-eastern city of Mashhad. Teachers staged nationwide rallies on that day to protest the deteriorating state of the educational system and the suppression of students, teachers and parents.
Rajabi was fired from her job last year after she refused to go to class in September and published videos criticizing the government's "unjust treatment" of students and teachers who are simply demanding their rights be respected.
"You didn't fire me, I didn't agree to cooperate with you," she wrote in a note.
The Coordinating Council of Teachers' Union called on Iranian educators to hold the demonstrations across Iran on May 9 and published a list of demands, including providing high-quality education, security for students following wave of poisonings in girls' schools and the "unconditional release of all teachers' rights activists in detention."
Unrest has rattled Iran since last summer in response to declining living standards, wage arrears and a lack of welfare support.
The September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody breathed new life into the protests, which the authorities have tried to quell with brutal force.
More than 520 people were killed by security forces during demonstrations sparked by Amini's death and over 20,000 people were unlawfully detained, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.