Iran Arrests 29 Women For Headscarf Protest

Iranian women protest their country’s hijab law by waving their headscarves in public

Iranian police said on February 1 that they had arrested 29 women who removed their headscarves in a protest against a law requiring women to wear the Islamic veils in public.

Soheila Jaloodarzadeh, a female member of the Iranian Parliament, said on Wednesday during an event on women's rights that the protests were the conclusion of years of restrictions, the semiofficial Ilna news agency reported.

However, Holly Dagres, an Iranian-American analyst, said Iranian authorities are "very much aware" that more than half of the population is against wearing the hijab.

"It's evident by the fact that the morality police are on constant patrol of the streets of major cities like Tehran", Dagres said.

"The Iranian police announced in 2014 that they've warned, arrested or sent to court almost 3.6 million women because of having bad hijab, so these arrests are not new, if people are protesting it's exactly because of such a crackdown", Alinejad told The Guardian. Men in Iran too have joined the protests and are now waving white flags in support of women's freedom of choice.

Masih Alinejad, the Iranian activist behind the "White Wednesday" social media campaign against mandatory hijabs, who is now based in the U.S., told CNN that the movement has not been influenced from overseas. According to CNN, police believed that the protests were motivated by foreigners; however, activist Masih Alinejad told the outlet that this was not the case at all.

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The Iranian regime, of course, is conspiracy theories that the anti-hijab movement is the work of foreign agitators seeking to undermine the Islamic Republic. "40,000 vehicles have been confiscated because their drivers have violated the hijab rule", she said and added that her campaign has been a reaction to this situation.

Another viral video shows an elderly lady who - in solidarity with the protestors - climbs a fountain base, takes off her white headscarf and waves it with her walking stick.

In the recent wave of protests, several videos of women standing on raised platforms waving their "hijabs" (headscarf) on the end of a stick have appeared on social media.

Hijab has a complicated history in Iran.

A few months after the 1979 revolution in Iran, compulsory laws forcing women to cover their heads and wear loose clothing came into effect.

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