- Some 29 women arrested for taking off their hijab in public in Tehran, Iran
- Police are cracking down on protests, imposing large bails on women arrested
- Vida Movahed, whose protest went viral, was held in a Tehran jail for a month
- Women are protesting the compulsory headscarf, which is religious law in Iran
By Sara Malm For Mailonline, 2 February 2018:
Tehran police have arrested 29 women for appearing in public without a headscarf as protests against the dress code in force since the Islamic revolution of 1979 intensify, Iranian media reported Friday.
Those arrested were accused of public order offences and referred to the state prosecutor’s office, Iranian nnews agencies reported without elaborating.
Chief prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri had played down the escalating protests on Wednesday, saying they were ‘trivial’ and ‘childish’ moves possibly incited by foreigners.
The original: Vida Movahed, 31, was arrested after taking off her hijab in public and standing on a telecoms box in Tehran in December – inspiring others to do the same
Unprecedented images more than a dozen women of protesting the same way had been widely shared on social media.
Montazeri said those flouting ‘hijab’ rules – which require headscarves and modest clothing – must have been encouraged by outsiders.
But even religiously conservative Iranians have voiced support for the protests, with many saying that religious rules should be a personal choice.
At least two photos shared on Twitter on Wednesday showed women in traditional black chador robes, standing on pillar box with signs supporting freedom of choice for women.
One held a sign reading: ‘I love my hijab but I’m against compulsory hijab.
On Monday, a woman named locally as Nargess Hosseini, was arrested after standing on an electricity box in central Tehran, waving her head scarf in front of her.
Journalist and campaigner Masih Alinejad, the founder of the White Wednesdays and My Stealthy Freedom movements, which fights the compulsory hijab in Iran, has claimed that Ms Hosseini’s bail has been set at a record-high level to detain others from protesting.
‘While the law imposes a maximum of $12 or two months of jail time, the court has recently asked for a bail of $125,000 to release one of the newly detained women,’ Ms Alinejad tweeted Thursday.
A prominent human rights lawyer told AFP on Tuesday that one of the detained women had her bail set at more than $100,000 (80,000 euros).
Ms Hosseini was copying the brave stance of Vida Movahed, a 31-year-old mother-of-one whose protest and subsequent arrest a month ago is thought to have started the movement.
A video showing her calmly waving her white hijab tied to a stick above the crowds in the Iranian capital, went viral on social media.
Ms Movahed, who became known as The Girl In Enghelab Street, was released over the weekend, after spending a month in custody with her 20-month-daughter.
eing brave: Another Iranian woman with bright turquoise hair has taken off her head scarf and holds it out while standing in silence
A young woman filmed during her protest revealed that she was encouraged by passersby, who later helped her and stopped police from arresting her
Copying: A woman as an unidentified street in Iran holds her white hijab out on a stick, mimicking the stance of Ms Movahed in solidarity and to protest enforced headscarves
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.
Iranian activists started a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #WhereIsShe, demanding that the government reveal what happened to her.
The campaign eventually went global both on and offline, with protesters at the recent Women’s March in the U.S. waving placards with the slogan.
Ms Movahed was protesting Iran’s Islamic law, which requires women to wear a headscarf and long clothes that cover the arms and legs.
The Islamic dress code, in place since the 1979 revolution, considers veiling obligatory for any female above 13 in Iran and says they should cover themselves from head to toe while disavowing any figure-hugging dress.
Breaking the rules can result in fines of up to 500,000 rials (£17) and up to two months in prison.
Two for one: Two young women are seen holding out their headscarves at an unknown location in Iran this week
Join the force: After initially being shared by human rights campaigners in Iran, the fight to find out the fate of the Girl of Enghelab Street went global
Support: Two participants in the Women’s March in Boston, US hold up placards with the campaign slogan
Reformist lawmaker Soheila Jelodarzadeh said the protests were a reaction to the harsh policies of the past.
‘Once upon a time we imposed restriction on women and put them under unnecessary pressure and that provoked these protests with women taking off their headscarves in the streets,’ she told ILNA.
‘It’s the result of our mistakes.’
President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in 2013 promising a more moderate stance, has previously said it is not the job of police to enforce religious rules such as those forcing women to cover their hair.
But in April 2016, officials said there were 7,000 undercover morality police reporting on things like ‘bad hijab’ – a blanket term usually referring to un-Islamic dress by women.
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.
These cases generally led to fines and a temporary impounding of the vehicle.
THE GIRL OF ENGHELAB STREET: WHAT SHE STOOD FOR
The woman who took her hijab off in public and waved it like a white flag in central Tehran, was protesting the Islamic dress code enforced on women in Iran.
The woman, reportedly a 31-year-old mother, broke the law by exposing her hair in public, risking arrest and fines.
The Girl of Enghelab Street, nicknamed so because of the name of the road where she took her head-scarf off in protest, has spurred many other women in Iran to do the same.
Missing: The unnamed woman was taking part in a women’s movement called White Wednesdays, which protests the enforcing of strict Islamic dress codes in Iran
Since her protest on December 27, she has become a symbol for Iranian women’s fight against compulsory hijab, with many sharing the video of her protest on social media and illustrations of her brave stand.
She has become the ‘poster child’ for the White Wednesdays movement, which encourages Iranian women and those who support their plight to take off their hijab, and was started by journalist and campaigner Masih Alinejad.
White is one of the most common colours of headscarves in Iran, which only allows ‘modest’ shades such as white, brown or black.
Another campaign fighting against the enforced hijab in Iran set up by Ms Alinejad is My Stealthy Freedom.
It is ‘dedicated to Iranian women inside the country who want to share their “stealthily” taken photos without the veil’, and aim to be a ‘living archive’ of their fight.