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In Tehran, New Hijab Protester Led Off By Police


An image taken from social media shows a woman staging a public protest against Iran's strict dress code in Tehran on October 29.

A woman has staged a public protest in downtown Tehran against Iran's strict dress code in a fresh challenge to the so-called hijab rule that followed the 1979 revolution.

Images were shared on social media of the woman standing and waving a head scarf and red and white balloons atop the turquoise dome in the middle of the roundabout at the heavily trafficked Revolution (Enghelab) Square on October 29.

Her peaceful protest appeared to be the first shared anti-hijab demonstration since early this year, when dozens of women and at least one man risked arrest by shedding or waving head coverings in the capital and other cities.

The defiant women were dubbed The Girls Of Revolution Street after a young mother, Vida Movahedi, who in December is believed to have been the first to mount a utility box on nearby Revolution Street while holding a stick on which she had tied her head scarf. Those photos quickly went viral against a backdrop of mounting street protests over rising prices, joblessness, and other social woes.

Movahedi was eventually arrested and served jail time before prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh said she had been released and rearrested.

The anti-hijab protests gained steam in January and February -- eventually resulting in more than two dozen arrests -- before seemingly dying out.

In June, authorities arrested Sotoudeh, who had represented several of the anti-hijab protesters.

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (file photo)
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (file photo)

The identity of the latest anti-hijab demonstrator is not clear. In one the videos posted online, she descends from the dome escorted by a man who appears to be a police officer.

Two of the previous protesters were among those sharing images of the scene.

Azam Jangravi, whose own protest went viral on social media in February, commented, "We won’t end, we multiply every day."

Another anti-hijab protester, Maryam Shariatmadari, who was reportedly injured during her arrest in February when a police officer pushed her off the utility box where she was standing while waving her scarf, said via Twitter: "You do everything you can to bring us down. We stand higher every time!"

Iranian authorities said earlier this year that they had detained 29 women for removing their head scarves.

At least three were reported to have received prison time after convictions on charges that included “acting against national security,” “violating public prudency,” and “encouraging immorality or prostitution.”

One of them, Shaparak Shajarizadeh, said in July that she had been sentenced to two years in prison in addition to an 18-year suspended prison term. She said on social media that she had left the country to escape "injustices."

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