Iranian teachers join a nationwide teachers' strike in the northwestern city of Marivan, March 4, 2019. They held protest signs calling for the release of detained teachers' rights activists and for better working conditions. (Photo courtesy of CCTSI
Iranian teachers join a nationwide teachers' strike in the northwestern city of Marivan, March 4, 2019. They held protest signs calling for the release of detained teachers' rights activists and for better working conditions. (Photo courtesy of CCTSI

Iranian teachers have begun their fourth peaceful nationwide protest since October to demand better working conditions for their poorly paid profession and the release of jailed education activists.

Hundreds of images posted on Telegram by the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI) showed teachers staging sit-ins and holding signs with slogans in school offices around the country on Sunday and Monday, the first two days of a three-day planned strike.

CCTSI said the teachers strike photos came from cities such as the capital, Tehran; Karaj in the country's north; Ardabil, Marivan, Sanandaj and Saqqez in the northwest; Shiraz in the southwest; and Isfahan and Yazd in the center. The umbrella organization for Iranian teachers' unions promoted the images with the Farsi version of the #nationwide_teachers_sit-in, which was used thousands of times by other social media users who shared the photos on Twitter and Instagram.

In a Feb. 25 Telegram statement calling for the three-day strike, CCTSI said its members recently met with Iranian lawmakers, education and security officials in Tehran but concluded that Iran's decision makers still were not making educational reforms a priority. It reiterated several demands from past protests, including the release of jailed teachers' rights activists, the removal of legal barriers to trade union activities, the allocation of sufficient education resources in Iran's 2019 budget, an increase in wages and pensions for working and retired teachers, and improvements to their insurance plans.

Iranian state-run news sites did not appear to have any coverage of the first two days of the teachers' strike.

In the last protest, Iranian teachers staged peaceful rallies outside education departments in at least six cities on Feb. 14. Previously, teachers staged sit-ins and held protest signs in school offices in dozens of Iranian cities in November and October.

Three prominent Iranian teachers' rights activists have been serving multiyear sentences for alleged national security offenses at Tehran's Evin prison. They include Mohammad Habibi, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi and Esmail Abdi.

This article originated in VOA's Persian Service.