Bazaar Strike Revisited
The current bazaar strikes have had an impressive duration, but how do they fit this pattern? Reading articles closely, one finds:
"A strike that began last week at the gold and textile sections of the bazaar in Tehran as a protest against a government plan to increase the income tax on merchants grew on Tuesday to other sections, according to the Web site Khabar Online."There is also:
"On Sunday, subways heading to the bazaar were relatively empty. Whole swaths of the market were shut down...
"News websites said authorities arrested the head of the union of fabric traders in Tehran’s old bazaar for allegedly speaking to merchants through a loudspeaker to assemble in Sabzeh Maidan Square, the main gate of the old bazaar, against the tax hike.
"Some Iranian youth joined the merchants in protest at Sabzeh Maidan. Eyewitnesses report that when a student attempted to record the scene, police beat him with a baton and arrested him, spiriting him away to an unknown location. Witnesses claim that plainclothes policemen and government security forces then launched tear gas bombs at protesters...
"Some merchants continue to pay the taxes. A man who has been selling scarves in the bazaar for more than 40 years said he will comply with the law...
"In the sections of the bazaar still open, electricity brown-outs kept plunging the shops in darkness, even during daylight, and the merchants could be seen angrily fanning themselves with small hand-held fans, made in China."
One can see while this is a significant event, there is clearly a segmented element to its organization, and many shops, apparently those in certain areas which almost certainly sell similar products remain open. Organization is difficult even such a significant grievance on the part of the entire merchant class. Some unknown number of students are also involving themselves. Strikingly, Reformist leaders seem invisible, perhaps because they see the new taxes as necessary even if they condemn the policies of the oil boom years that led to the current situation.
UPDATE: Keshavarzian himself weighs in with Tehran Bureau.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)