Marketers in Baneh have gone on strike for the thirteenth day in protest to the blockade of the unofficial border crossings of Kurdistan and the high cost of customs.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has been informed that on Friday, April 27, Baneh marketers continued their strike in protest to the blockade of the unofficial border crossings for more than four months.

On April 26, Baneh citizens gathered in front of the governor’s building, where a meeting was held between the government delegates and marketers’ delegates to resolve the crisis, calling for the reopening of the borders. People set an empty tablecloth (to symbolise the fact that kolbars cannot feed their families) while chanting ” the governor should be dismissed, our tables are empty. Fathers cannot provide food, the empty table is equal to the social anomalies, Kolbars are hungry” to show their protest.

The meeting was held with the presence of the Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade and the Head of Trade Development Organisation of Iran and Deputy Minister of Trade Affairs, the Director General of the Ministry of the Interior, the Director General of the Import Office, the Free and Specialised Customs Offices of Iran, the representative of the people of Saqez and Baneh Islamic Consultative Assembly, Assistant Coordinator for Economic Affairs and Development of the Provincial Governorate of Kurdistan, Governor of Baneh, Security and Police Chief of the Kurdistan Provincial Governor, Chief of Industry, Mine and Trade of Kordestan, Director General of the Customs and Provincial Customs Officer, several clerics of Baneh and Trustees and Selected representatives of marketers from Baneh and Saqez.

At the meeting, which lasted more than 3 hours, several Baneh and Saqez cities representing the marketers in addition to the owners of transit companies carrying goods and border guards raised some of the current demands and solutions of Baneh people, including increasing the cost of customs for imported goods through Pedlar Plan (*Pilewari in Persian) – the possibility of entry of goods across the border – the need to accelerate the implementation of practical processes of cooperative border trade in accordance with the demands of marketers..

The outcome of the meeting will be announced due on Sunday, April 29.

On Saturday, April 15, businessmen and marketers in Baneh and Jawanrood closed their shops in protest to the blockade of border crossing and the high cost of customs and set an empty tableclots. In the following days, marketers from the cities of Marivan, Saghez, Piranshahr and Sardasht also joined the strike.

The government has recently ratified the prohibition of working as a kolbars and the blockade of borders. As a result, over 70-80 thousand Kolbars and 6 million marketers and border businessmen have lost their jobs.

More than 16 thousand shopkeepers in Baneh, where there are 100 commercial complexes, were affected by the closure of borders.