Movement against Iran's headscarf law gains momentum

Movement against Iran's headscarf law gains momentum

Movement against Iran's headscarf law gains momentum

The Islamic dress code, established in the 1979 revolution, considers the Islamic veil or hijab, mandatory for any woman over age of 13 in Iran and says that they must cover themselves from head to foot while they reject any dress that embraces the figure.

Following the example of one woman who became a symbol of popular protest in December, Iranian women now are standing on telecoms boxes and removing their headscarves.

Vida Movahed's protest in the centre of Tehran last month.

Public concern mounted for Movahedi's safety after reports of her arrest, particularly with the authorities clamping down on protests and possible dissenters as antiestablishment unrest spread to dozens of Iranian cities in late December and early January. She protested for about ten minutes before getting arrested by plainclothes officers. Although they were not directly linked, her action embodied the aspirations of a movement of young Iranians frustrated with the lack of social and political freedoms.

After a similar action last month, 31-year-old Vida Movahed was arrested in central Tehran. Toosi added that whilst Movahedi was released this week human rights activists reported that at least one woman was arrested on Tuesday. A hashtag about women's role in social change, roughly translating to #GirlsofRevolutionStreet, was also trending on Iranian Twitter.

Several detainees have died in custody.

On Monday, reacting to the new protest, Sotoudeh wrote: "Today, I was informed that a second woman has stood on a telecoms box in the same place, holding up her hijab aloft on a stick". This is not the first time women came out in protest of Iran's law for women. Her message is clear, girls and women are fed up with forced [hijab].

Social media postings Monday showed at least five women in Iran protesting the obligatory Muslim headscarf by taking theirs off and waving them on sticks. But in 1941 Reza Shah abdicated to the Crown Prince Mohammad-Reza, who relaxed the dress code and allowed women to wear the hijab if they chose. Despite the fear of reprisals, millions of women in Iran defy the restrictions on a daily basis.

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