Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan (TURCP) organised a protest demonstration in Multan, Pakistan against police brutality.
More than 35 trade union activists attended the protest. The participants condemned a police crackdown against the peaceful teachers’ demonstration.
On 24 January 2006, the Multan police (the largest city in a region where an ethnic Seraiki minority forms the majority in southern Punjab), attacked a peaceful teachers union demonstration. More than 200 teachers were arrested. Police baton-charged the teachers and also dragged along roads before arresting them. Teachers’ union leaders, Jan-e-Alam, Rana Waliat Ali and Mehar Mukhtar were also arrested and kept in police custody.
A police crackdown was launched in the early hours and raids were conducted at teachers’ homes, resulting in the widespread harassment of trade unionists’ family members
Police released the arrested teachers in the late evening, only after different trade unions threatened to take action. The TURCP also attended this meeting and suggested organising a demonstration immediately.
TURCP members visited the different police stations to show solidarity with arrested teachers. The arrested teachers were in a militant mood.
The teachers union has announced that it will continue the protest campaign until their demands are accepted and fully implemented. The teachers are demanding long-delayed promotions and also want to cancel all unnecessary transfers. They are also demanding the transfer of Executive district officer Education Multan, because of his anti teacher policies.
The TURCP in Lahore also issued a press release to condemn the arrests of protesting teachers. The TURCP condemns the baton charge on teachers as a violation of a democratic and constitutional right. The trade unions have a right to organise demonstrations, public meetings and strikes to get their rights and concessions. The present military led government has no respect for the fundamental rights of workers.