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Pre-2008 Posts

Tehran: Women’s Peaceful Demonstrations Being Violently Suppressed

“On Monday June 12th, a peaceful demonstration of women for equal rights was brutally suppressed by the police force even before the participants get any chance to voice their demands. More than 70 people are arrested and men and women were beaten up and tear gas was used. The demonstration was organized by a group of women activists as a follow up to the similar demonstration which was held last year in front of University of Tehran.” 

According to Arash Ashoorinia of Kosoof who took most of the amazing (and courageous photos) here:

The sit-in on 12th June 2006 had been widely advertised online and was a peaceful plea to the Iranian government to change its unequal gender laws. The principle demands were as follows:

•   Abolition of polygamy

•   The right of divorce by women

•   Joint custody of children for mothers and fathers

•   Equal rights in family law

•   Increasing the minimum legal age for girls to 18 (currently it is 15)

•   Equal rights for women as witnesses in courts of law

Here is an eyewitness account translated by Thoughts: An Iran Woman in the United States.

Iranian women are blogging for support, help, solidarity, spread the word.  These links were gathered from Lady Sun’s blog:

Iranian Shadow:

“My friends, women and men of my country, were beaten and arrested by the security forces because of their objection to discriminatory civic and labor laws. This was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration by women’s right activists.  I am so sad. What am I doing here? My sister was beaten brutally by a police woman, my friend has disappeared and I am here, Just crying and try to talk to someone in Iran.”

Azadeh Pourzand translated from Azieh Amini’s blog:

“We said that that sitting in the park is not a crime. They said, “Get up before we proceed to using other methods!” And we did not have the opportunity to speak anymore. We had different objectives and both sides knew this pretty well. They said that they are being very serious and we asked, “Why?”

“They kicked us out of the park. They beat us and kicked us out. We walked. Calm and peaceful. We walked around the park. They kicked us out. They beat us up. Someone yelled and said, “I am your mother. Shame on you!” The answer was the following: “ I do not have a bitch as my mother!” And then she pushed the older lady very harshly. We left. They took us. Around the square we were holding papers on which it was written, “Change the anti-woman laws!”, “We demand the rights of a complete human being!” and then we started to whisper collectively, “ We are women. We are humans. And yet we have no rights…” This time they started to beat us from all sides. Not only men were beating us. There were also women with chador (the garment) who were screaming: “Do not argue with the police!” and as soon as someone would start to argue, they would start to curse and kick them all over.

“We walked around the square. They took our papers away and torn them into pieces. They pulled the crowd of young and old women who were yelling out slogans and took them to their assigned busses. The crowd resisted their forces. But there were many policemen and policewomen around. It was odd. All of a sudden it seemed as if everyone around us was a member of the moral police. We heard them over and over saying, “No worries. We are not strangers!” I do not really know how many of us were there. All I know is that it was not a small crowd and that we will increase in number.”

Bahar translated by Azadeh Pourzand

“Amir is saying that they are beating up our friends. He is saying that they are very violent. It reminds me of the way they were beating up people on International Women’s Day.  I talked with Elnaz. They have seriously beaten them all up. They have arrested some. I am nervous. They have arrested some of the students of my university…”

Lady Sun:  “Nobody knows exactly how many people are arrested. Some are disappeared, some have voluntarily disappeared; no accurate news. My friends’ bodies ache because of being beaten up, but their hearts ache more. Their hearts ache, but their eyes shine…”

Rabfish: “Inside you waft in rooms like fabric softener playing roles, roles that require the tenth of you, or the misplacement of the one-sixteenth of you, or the splitting of fifty-fifty of you–the baton and the hijaab (and the incense), and THIS IS WHERE YOU GO, AND THAT IS WHAT YOU DO THERE–soft cotton smelling like summer, smelling like mother. Step up with your body to the partition and that woman’s breast and belly will slowly emerge, the baton will slide out.”  Read it.




14 thoughts on “Tehran: Women’s Peaceful Demonstrations Being Violently Suppressed

    Sign the petition at Herland:,06,07,12,33,14/

    22nd of Khordad: Iranian Women's Protest Against Sexist Laws

    For the past 100 years, since the constitutional period, Iranian women have worked toward achieving their human rights and equal status under the legal system. Despite these efforts, women's most basic rights have been ignored within the Iranian civil and penal codes. Needless to say lack of legal guarantees and equality under the law has imposed severe obstacles and consequences on the lives of Iranian women.

    Last year, on the 22nd of Khordad (12th of June, 2005) Iranian women voiced their unanimous objection to all discriminatory laws which violated their human rights. Our voices and demands, however, have been left unanswered. This year, in follow-up to their demands, Iranian women will come together in protest on June 12 th, 2006 to once again ask for their rights. Our demands include:

    1. Banning of polygamy;
    2. Equal right to divorce;
    3. Equal child custody rights for mothers and fathers;
    4. Equal rights in marriage (like women's right to choose her own employment, travel freely, etc);
    5. Increase in the legal age of children to 18 years of age (currently girls are viewed as adults at 9 years of age and boys at 15 years of age, making them eligible to be tried as adults);
    6. Equal value placed on women's testimony in court; and
    7. Elimination of temporary work contracts which disproportionately and negatively impact women.

    We ask all individuals who object to the legal violations of women's rights to join this gathering on Monday, 22nd of Khordad, 5-6pm, Haft-e-Tir Square.

    Thanks to the Global Sisterhood Network and the Feminist Peace Network.


    Posted by womensspace | June 15, 2006, 5:33 pm
  2. thank you SO much for this heart, this is an amazing post, and I am going to be spending a lot of time going through the list of bloggers you have here. This is really really blogging at its finest and most political…thank you.

    Posted by brownfemipower | June 15, 2006, 6:51 pm
  3. Thanks so much, bfp! Now if I could just stop crying here at work. I find myself overwhelmed, goosebumps, can’t stop the tears.


    Posted by womensspace | June 15, 2006, 7:06 pm
  4. Thank you for this… I’m in awe of Iranian bloggers as I’m just reading a recently released book (We Are Iran) about this whole community. I have learnt so much about Iran, through the words of bloggers catching a glimpse through a window into a society hardly anyone in the west knows.

    Posted by Jay Hatfield | June 15, 2006, 9:33 pm
  5. Thank you so much for this. They must have our support, i feel chilled to the bone.

    Posted by anna | June 15, 2006, 9:47 pm
  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to spread the word. I am grateful for that. And thanks for leaving a comment and letting me know about it since it lead me to your blog which I very much like. I will definitely come back!

    Posted by Anar | June 15, 2006, 11:37 pm
  7. Jay and Anna, I, too, am in awe of the Iranian bloggers. Oh my gosh. I have been walking around with goosebumps on my goosebumps all day long and showing everyone I can these amazing, amazing photographs and blog posts. I feel so incredibly honored to be part of this grassroots internet network feminists and progressives are building internationally which allows us to, within hours, tell the truths of our lives, of what we see, of what is happening, which allows us to get the word out. It just blows me away. It thrills me in ways I haven’t felt thrilled since the 60s and 70s!

    Anar, what a privilege that you’ve joined this discussion. I will add you and the other Iranian women to the blogroll and will regularly read your fine writings. I am so glad you like my blog! I am part of many grassroots networks of feminists, most notably, the Feminist Peace Network, the Global Sisterhood Network, and Women in Black. We have been buzzing over the last few days posting all we can get our hands on about the women’s revolution in Iran. What is happening both inspires us and humbles us and deeply grieves us. May justice prevail. May all of us, as women, achieve full humanity in our lifetimes.

    In deep appreciation, solidarity, and sisterhood,


    Posted by womensspace | June 16, 2006, 5:23 am
  8. I loved this blog and will keep checking it. I’m doing research on the effects of the internet on Arab women – looking at your blogg and others, i can see how effective it has been in Iran – amazing. if you have a moment, would you post an answer to this question:

    How has the blog changed your life as a woman in Iran? Do you think the virtual world of the blog will ever translate into real legislative liberation for us Arab women?

    Posted by sireen khalifeh | July 10, 2006, 9:55 am
  9. Thank you for that good word, sireen khalifeh, and for reading my blog!

    I am an American woman of Norwegian descent and am not Iranian or Arab. Speaking to my own experience, I resisted blogging for a long time, for many, many reasons. Since I’ve begun this blog, though, I have changed my mind about blogging. Time and time again, I have felt overwhelmed by the opportunities it affords for connecting with women all around the world, and for staying current and up-to-date on what is happening in women’s lives *as* it happens, and in the words of women themselves, as opposed to filtered through who knows how many reporters and editors and photographers, such that by the time the news comes to us — if it ever does — it might be so watered down as to bear little resemblance to what the women themselves might have said had they published their own words and stories. I find the opportunities to publish women’s news as it happens on the internet just breathtaking sometimes, as with the demonstrations in Tehran. Within hours and as it was happening, Iranian women and men had blogged about the demonstrations, translated the blogs into English, and the stories and photos were picked up all over the world, documenting, as it happened, what actually happened, preserving women’s history as it was being made. As women we have long labored under the erasure of our history and we have suffered because of it, being told that what we knew had happened, never happened, where was our evidence, our proof. When our history is erased, then the likelihood is great that what has happened to us will happen again, the lessons of history are never learned, and perpetrators and violators cover up what they have done time and time again.

    I think the virtual world of the blog has the potential to translate into real legislative liberation for Arab women, in that what is published for the whole world to see, again, cannot be denied or erased or made to be invisible. I think publishing and posting what is going on in the world immediately, on blogs, as it happens, can result in pressure being brought to bear on government officials and bodies, military leaders, tribunals of various kinds. This can certainly be seen in the United States, where there is a website in place to denounce three Iraqi resistance blogs/websites as disseminators of “misinformation.” What this means to me is that the military sees these sources of information as problematic– and of course, they are. There is no one to censor them, no one to monitor them or keep track of what they are saying, and that is *always* problematic to those who want to rigidly control the flow of information in wartime! I think we see this in the way Al-Jazeera was closed down at one point, had its server in Belgium closed down, and I think this was the work of the FBI, although I am not certain.

    I think back on times of atrocity for women– the rapes for genocide in Bosnia-Hercogovina and Croatia, the violations of Afghan women under the rule of the Ayatollah, and recall that it was women in these countries, connecting with women who published magazines or wielded other kinds of influence in the United States and Europe — in the U.S., it was Ms Magazine and Off Our Backs, in particular — which finally forced the general public and government officials to pay attention to what was happening to the women in these countries. I think there is great potential in the blogosphere for this same sort of forcing of public attention in the direction of injustices and atrocities perpetrated against women. Not long ago the Iranian singer, Nazanin, blogged on Myspace about the plight of the young Nazanin, 17, sentenced to be hanged for defending herself and her cousin against a rapist, whom she killed in the course of that self-defense. 170,000 names were gathered on a petition, and ultimately, Nazanin’s life was at least temporarily spared. We know that government officials do sometimes respond to international pressure in situations like this, thinking now, as well, of women sentenced to be executed under Shariah laws in African countries who have ultimately been spared.

    I know that in the United States, in large part it was the television broadcasting, in the 60s, of dogs and fire hoses let loose on kneeling, praying black demonstrators in the South which turned the tide of public opinion such that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, creating the mechanisms, at least, for the liberation of black people. I saw these broadcasts myself as a young girl and was devastated by them. What are those policemen doing, letting their dogs loose on praying people, children, old people, spraying them with fire hoses, beating them with clubs– they aren’t doing anything!

    I think there is similar potential in the blogosphere, to, by way of photos and good journalism, rally public support for justice and against injustice and violence. Wherever truth is unleashed in the world, it does its work in the direction of equality, I think.

    Well, this is long! Thank you for asking me this question, I have enjoyed thinking about it and responding.


    Posted by womensspace | July 10, 2006, 5:06 pm
  10. Thank you so much for your detailed response. I enjoyed reading it – and totally relate to what you said about it being overwhelming…the opportunities the internet affords us makes each computer savy woman responsible for making change. No more excuses about being silenced…we now have some tools to speak out and connect. Its a virtual world – alongside a real world…everything starts with an idea…

    by the way, check out lebanese bloggs…lebanon is on fire…

    Thanks again for your response and keep writting.

    Posted by sireen khalifeh | July 30, 2006, 10:36 am
  11. It was somebody’s blog post which made me realize how unhappy I was in my relationship. It was then this blog which kept me sane and lucid while dealing with the abuse that ensued from the breakup.

    Posted by profacero | October 15, 2006, 6:47 pm
  12. Oh my dear God
    What is happening with Human
    race in Iran?Your Women are degraded by selfish man who like only domination and power over them.Shame on you and your Old system what is not right for new generation.Why Police must be so brutal to Iranian Mothers and sisters?Shame on all Iran when you permitting that to happen.
    Iranian Women dont take that brutality work all togheter and FIGTH FOR HUMAN RECOGNITION.
    Best of lack.

    Posted by Walter Wolter | January 14, 2008, 1:37 pm


  1. Pingback: Women of Color Blog » Feminist Protests in Iran - June 17, 2006

  2. Pingback: Finishing school for girls gone wrong - Science-Fiction & Fantasy forums - May 4, 2007

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