More women in Iran put their right foot forward as headscarf protests persist
23 February 2018
A video showing an Iranian policeman shoving a woman protesting against mandatory headscarves off her makeshift podium in a busy Tehran street sparked criticism on social media on Friday.
The video of the solitary female demonstrator was apparently shot on Enghelab (Revolution) Street, where a woman was first detained in December after standing with her head uncovered waving a scarf on a stick.
Since then several dozen Iranian women have published photos of themselves in the street or parks, their heads uncovered, waving their scarves in an act of defiance.
‘What’s my offence?’
The woman in the video is seen standing on a street cabinet with her arms raised in the air, her long blond hair worn in a high pony tail.
Asked by two policemen to get down, she replies calmly: “Tell me what my offence is and I’ll get down.”
“Disturbing public order,” one of them says. A crowd then forms and starts clapping.
In the second part of the video, apparently shot on a cellphone, one of the policemen steps up to the same height as the woman and shoves her off her podium, to the indignation of onlookers. “Where are the human rights?” a male voice asks.
Lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh wrote on Facebook that the policeman broke the law because “no man has the right to treat a woman like this”. Twitter users also reacted with dismay.
“Breaking the law while in law enforcement uniform is our problem in Iran,” one tweeted. “The same police force that makes the girl fall over in Enghelab Street is the one responsible for ensuring the security and viability of the elections,” said another.
Since December around 30 women have been arrested in Tehran for defying a requirement under Iran’s Islamic legal code to wear a headscarf.
In recent days, Iran’s morality police have stepped up their campaign against women since the symbolic protest against the hijab began weeks ago. The number of participants continue to increase dramatically.
Earlier this month a video of a young woman taking off her hijab in Iran in front of a Basij base (Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Morality Police) emerged. This event comes nearly two weeks after the first Iranian woman who took off her hijab in protest of the forced dress code .
The woman, 31-year-old Wida Mowahed, a mother of a 19-month-old daughter, stood in the middle of Tehran’s “Inqlab” (revolution) street raising her scarf on a stick and waving it like a flag.
A video of the protest was widely shared three days before the outbreak of the popular protests in Tehran on December 27. Mowahed was shortly arrested after her protest, but was reportedly released following an outcry from human rights activists.
Her courage prompted other women, old and young, to fight for their right. Another recent video showed an elderly woman, barely capable of walking, also protesting against the forced dress code in hopes of change.