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Iranian Police Disrupt Women's Day Demonstration

Female protesters in mid-2005 (AFP) March 8, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A gathering by a group of women's-rights activists in Tehran to mark the International Women's day was disrupted today by the police, according to Radio Farda.

One of those activists, who did not want to be named, told Radio Farda that many women were beaten up by police forces in front of a park in the Iranian capital where they wanted to have a ceremony and demand gender equality.

"Unfortunately the police attacked [us], they beat up violently especially the women, including Mrs. Simin Behbahani [a prominent Iranian poet]; they didn't even respect her age," the activist said. "They dispersed everyone, many of the boys were also beaten up, and some of them were arrested."

Activists had come to hear speeches against discrimination against women. Some were reportedly carrying banners with slogans in favor of women's rights and gender equality.

(with additional reporting by Azima)