Iranian women protest obligatory headscarf; Twitterati praise the bravery

Authorities Arrest Second Anti-Headscarf Demonstrator In Iran

"They are risking their liberty, they are also exposing themselves to torture and other ill treatment at the hands of police and other paramilitary forces in Iran that enforce compulsory veiling against women", Raha Bahraini, Amnesty international's researcher on Iran, who has been closely following the spread of the powerful protest images, said.

The first such act of protest occurred in December and was staged by Vida Movahed, who was eventually arrested.

While not directly linked with the wave of political protest which hit Iran at the time, "her action embodied the aspirations of a movement of young Iranians frustrated with the lack of social and political freedoms", says The Guardian.

While it is unclear where the images shared on social media were taken, women who fail to wear a headscarf in the Islamic Republic can be jailed for up to two months or fined 500,000 rials (£9.50).

The as-yet unidentified woman was detained in Tehran after standing on a telecoms box, taking off her headscarf and holding it in the air on a stick.

Movahed was identified by prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Sotoudeh's husband Reza Chandan said Monday on Twitter that the activist had been released from detention.

Earlier this month, Iranian Police Commander Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari said his forces had released many of those arrested and will investigate their cases in the future.

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One of the women taking part in the protests was arrested after staging a protest on the same busy street in apparent solidarity.

The Girl of Enghelab Street, nicknamed so because of the name of the road where she took her head-scarf off in protest, has spurred many other women in Iran to do the same.

Women showing their hair in public can be jailed for up to two months or fined $25 (aprox Rs 1500).

Rights lawyer Sotoudeh said the protests were an indication that many women are fed up with the obligatory hijab and predicted they would continue. Alinejad also created the campaign #whitewednesdays a year ago, which called on women to wear white in protest of the strict laws.

It is "dedicated to Iranian women inside the country who want to share their "stealthily" taken photos without the veil", and aim to be a "living archive" of their fight.

The Islamic code also forbids women touching, dancing or singing with men outside their families.

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