Members of Iran’s so-called “morality police” encountered a fierce response when they attempted to arrest a woman for improperly wearing a hijab.
The incident in Tehran on Friday night ended with a mob tearing the door off a police vehicle, the state-run IRNA news agency reported, and warning shots being fired.
“Morality patrol police members had warned two young women who did not have proper hijab,” an officer told IRNA. In recent years, some women have adhered less strictly to the dress rules, sometimes wearing shorter scarves which reveal more hair at the back, or pushing the scarves back on their heads to reveal more hair around their faces.
“Within a few minutes, a group of citizens gathered around to prevent the transfer of the two women [into custody],” the officer said, adding that the conflict dissipated when the women left the police car.
A video posted on social media shows a large crowd shouting and drivers using their horns before a series of shots are heard. A photo showing the damaged door also reportedly circulated on Twitter.
Today morality police tried to arrest this girl in Tehra,Iran for hijab.When people showed solidarity to protect the girl, police started shooting. Finally people’s power prevailed & they couldn’t arrest the girl.#MyCameraIsMyWeapon
شلیک پلیس امروز در تهران #دوربین_ما_اسلحه_ما pic.twitter.com/6WIcYuyRwk
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 15, 2019
The morality police (officially known as the Gasht-e Ershad, meaning guidance patrol) are entitled to stop and even detain people — more often women — who they consider to be violating the Islamic Republic’s dress codes. Some people use a smart phone app that warns users when a morality police patrol is in the area.
Holly Dagres, editor of Iran Source blog, told the Telegraph that the rise of social media, and ability to share these encounters more widely, is giving Iranians more confidence to push back on the draconian strictures enforced by the patrols.
Watch ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ founder Masih Alinejad tell Tina Brown how she started a social movement against forced hijab, at the 2016 Women in the World New York Summit:
Read the full story at The Telegraph.