Pakistan: Sindh police teargas and baton charge protesting teachers

2,500 teachers demonstrate outside Chief Minister House against union ban

The riot police attacked a peace full demonstration of teachers in front of Chief Minister’s house in Karachi. The police used teargas to disperse the protesting teachers. Police also baton charged the teachers and a few were arrested. Many teachers got injuries as the result of this brutal attack.

These teachers are protesting against the ban on teachers’ organisations in Sindh Province. The Coalition Provincial Government imposed the ban on all the teachers unions and associations in the education department. This is part of the anti-workers and unions policies carried out by the military-led federal government.

Teachers’ unions announced they will continue the protest throughout the province against this ban. One union leader said, "We will continue our protest to force the government to withdraw the ban. We will remain on the roads to achieve our goal. We will not accept this attack on our basic fundamental and democratic rights".

Since the police attacks, the government started negotiations with teachers’ union’s leaders. The main aim of these negotiations is to convince the teachers to postpone the protests. But initially the leaders have refused to postpone the demonstrations.

Teachers’ organizations started the protest campaign on 29 July, when teachers organized the pickets in all the districts of Sindh. They locked the offices of education officers throughout the province. All the 15 unions in education department formed an alliance called Education Union Alliance. The alliance is also moving an application in the High Court against this ban.

TURCP Role

The Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan (TURCP) was involved in this protest from the beginning. TURCP strongly condemns the ban on teachers’ unions. TURCP members are actively taking part in the protest in Karachi. TURCP members staged a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club, to condemn police torture and arrests of teachers. The TURCP produced a leaflet in the support of this protest movement and appealed to all the public sector unions and associations to prepare for a general strike against this ban. The TURCP members have it clear to the leadership and activists that without a strong and well prepared strike action, the government will not defeated. The TURCP is also preparing for more solidarity actions nationally.

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