Conflicts & War

Iran women remove headscarves in protest against government

By Jaime Leon

Tehran, Oct 16 (EFE).- In Iran’s capital Tehran, a woman walks down a busy street without a hijab, her hair uncovered, in a display of defiance against the Islamic republic’s leadership and its draconian rules mandating the headscarves for females.

“I do it for my dead sisters,” says the brown-haired 35-year-old, who prefers not to reveal her name for security reasons.

“It’s my way of protesting,” the woman who works as an administrator at a private company adds.

Nationwide protests have rocked Iran for the past month, triggered by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini in police custody after she was detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress regulations for women.

The demonstrations that have spread to universities and even high schools have seen people either honking their car horns on streets or chanting slogans such as “death to the dictator” from their balconies at night, in reference to Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

Others have opted for going out in public without the obligatory and now controversial hijab.


It is a dangerous act since those who are seen in public without a veil face jail sentences and fines, according to the country’s penal code.

The hijab has been obligatory since 1983, four years after the Islamic Revolution which was led by former supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini.

Despite the law, the 35-year-old administrator has decided to uncover her hair to protest against the death of Amini, 22, as well as other young women who have died during the rallies that have followed, such as Nika Shakarami, 17, and Sarina Esmailzadeh, 16.

She also does it to express her rejection of the mandatory hijab law and the “rude” treatment she has been subjected to by authorities.

Five years ago, she was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly and had to attend an educational class.

“I felt like a criminal,” she says.

After that, she decided to continue pushing the limits of what is allowed sartorially, all while trying to evade the morality police.

“If I see them on one side of the street, I cross to the other side. So far it has worked for me,” she says.

In Tehran, other women are seen doing the same thing as the administrator.

“I take off my veil to show my anger,” another young woman, who also prefers to remain anonymous, tells Efe.

Many young people choose to defy the authorities by posting photos of themselves without headscarves on social media.

“For the first time, I walk through my city without the hijab,” a young woman recently wrote on Twitter, with a photo of herself showing her ponytail.

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