Iranian women remove their veils in defiant viral protest

Jan 31, 2018, 06:10
Iranian women remove their veils in defiant viral protest

At least five women in the Iranian capital Tehran protested the country's compulsory headscarf rules by waving theirs on sticks, social media postings showed on Monday.

The young woman's resistance act coincided with the wave of protests that spread across the country in late December 2017.

The images show women copying the courageous stance of defiance as he first woman arrested - Vida Movahed.

Narges Hosseini was arrested within 10 minutes of removing her hijab along with two people filming her, Iran's foremost human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told The Guardian.

One woman who was said to have been arrested and was identified as Narguess Hosseini, stood at the same spot as Movahedi.

Ms Esfandiari said the protests tie in with wider, anti-regime demonstrations that took place across 80 Iranian cities in December, when more than 1,000 people were arrested and 25 killed.

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Thousands of social media users shared messages of support after her disappearance, dubbing her the "Girl of Enghelab Street" after the area in central Tehran where she staged the protest.

A hashtag about the movement, which can be translated to #GirlsofRevolutionStreet, was also trending on Iranian Twitter.

Breaking the rules can result in fines of up to 500,000 rials (£17) and up to two months in prison.

Iranian Islamic law has forced women to wear a hijab and long, loose clothing for modesty since the 1979 revolution. The announcement signaled an easing, as called for by the young and reform-minded Iranians who helped re-elect President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, earlier this year.

Figures are rarely given, but Tehran's traffic police said in late 2015 they had dealt with 40,000 cases of bad hijab in cars, where women often let their headscarves drop around their necks.

"The campaign has gathered force and I believe the social media platform has given women the opportunity to speak out for themselves and show that they do not accept this degradation anymore".

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The woman, reportedly a 31-year-old mother, broke the law by exposing her hair in public, risking arrest and fines.

"But as a woman who grew up in Iran I can tell you it's a big issue".

Now Iranians on social media praising the protesters claim "the girl from Enghelab Street" has proliferated, and photos testifying to a budding headache for Iranian authorities emerged one after the other on social media on January 29.

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has required women to wear the Islamic headscarf in public.

Rights lawyer Sotoudeh said the protests were an indication that many women are fed up with the obligatory hijab and predicted they would continue.

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