Women’s Protest Movement Ending a Brutal and Authoritarian Society

According to a Sept. 28th report, a young woman climbed on top of a car in Mashhad, a conservative Iranian city known for its Islamic shrine, where she removed her hijab and chanted, “Death to the dictator.” The protesters nearby joined in, and cars honked in support.

Fatemeh Shams, who grew up in Mashhad, says that for many Iranian women, this is a scene that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. When you see Mashhad women taking to the streets and burning their veils in public, it’s truly a revolutionary change. Iranian women are ending the brutal society and the compulsory veil.

Protests have erupted in Iran several times over the past few years, but many of them have been sparked by economic difficulties. A new wave is now challenging clergy-ruled Iran, and at the heart of this popular outrage is the compulsory veil. The Islamic Republic of Iran requires women to cover up in public, including wearing a hijab to completely cover their hair.

A 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, was recently arrested by morality police in the capital Tehran for “disobeying the headscarf rule” and died in custody. Her death sparked nearly two weeks of widespread unrest that spread across Iran’s provinces, with students, middle-class professionals and working-class people, both men and women, taking to the streets.

Iranian state television said at least 41 protesters were killed. A press count of official statements from Iran shows that at least 13 protesters have died and more than 1,400 have been arrested.

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