February 28, 2024

It was May Day, the first of May, International Workers’ Day. I was there to report on the rally of the workers of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC). It was about noon, and the crowd kept growing; citizens, workers’ families, and students. A young, bearded man with long hair took pictures and videos in the middle of the crowd.
While some people were joining and others leaving, the riot police arrived with Commander Ghodratollah Mahmoudi, the same commander in charge of the riot police who clashed with protesters at the rally of March 8th in front of The City Theatre. People started to spread out, and the undercover forces increased in numbers. A few of them gathered around the young man and pulled him towards one of the gray cars. As the young man struggled to pull himself towards the rest of the crowd, the undercover forces beat him up with a baton, and hit him with pepper spray. I watched all of this from the window of a gray car. It was only a few minutes prior that one of the undercovers had pulled my arm and taken my phone, and now I watched the scene sitting in the gray car and sharing a handcuff with Abdolreza Tarazi, who, I later found out, was a member of the syndicate.They took us to the Niloufar Police Station for Interrogations and to press familiar charges. We saw Ebrahim Madadi in the middle of the chaos, calmly explaining his civil rights. Ebrahim Madadi is the Vice President of the Workers’ Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, a labor activist and political prisoner.The young man with the long hair and now ripped clothes was taken to a room. It did not take long before he started screaming, and a little later the door opened, and a soldier walked out of the room, taking the baton that was on the table and walking back into the room. Ebrahim Madadi continued talking: “a few nights ago, Mr. Dorri was on the TV saying: ‘we hope the police treat the citizens well.’” 10 minutes later the young man, barely able to walk, was brought out of the room.