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Iranian women take off headscarves to protest hijab

03 February, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Atta Kenare  AFP?Getty Images

A second woman has been arrested in Iran for disobeying the country's strict dress laws, which require women to be covered from head to toe.

At least six women in Iran have been pictured protesting the obligatory Islamic headscarf by publicly taking off their hijabs and waving them on sticks.

A widely shared smartphone image of the first protest showed a young woman standing on a telecoms box on Enghelab Street in the centre of the Iranian capital. The protests in Tehran Monday were against the mandatory hijab laws that have been in place since the 1979 revolution that ushered in the current government.

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.

In the photos, the women's heads are uncovered as they stand on utility boxes or other objects on the streets of Tehran with scarves held up on sticks.


While not directly linked with the wave of political protest which hit Iran at the time, "her action embodied the aspirations of a movement of young Iranians frustrated with the lack of social and political freedoms", says The Guardian. Thousands of people, including men, have changed their profile pictures in support of Movahed.

Movahed was identified by prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Sotoudeh's husband Reza Chandan said Monday on Twitter that the activist had been released from detention. Alinejad also created the campaign #whitewednesdays past year, which called on women to wear white in protest of the strict laws.

"These women are saying, 'It is enough - it is the 21st century and we want to be our true selves, '" the Iranian activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her message is clear, girls and women are fed up with forced [hijab].

The images are part of the social movement called White Wednesdays, in which women post pictures of themselves on social media wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing in protest. Despite the fear of reprisals, millions of women in Iran defy the restrictions on a daily basis.

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