Amid intensified measures to enforce hijab in Iran, several grassroot student groups across the country have called for a protest rally against mandatory hijab on April 15.
The student groups said gatherings, sit-ins, and theatrical performances will be held on Saturday as a response to the new forcible measures by the government.
"After the end of Nowruz holidays and the reopening of universities, the Islamic Republic has started to implement the so-called 'verbal reminder’ of hijab observance, inside the university campuses,” read their statement.
In fact, the clerical regime and its hardliner supporters issue threats to women and new restrictive measures almost daily to try to force then to wear hijab.
As part of humiliation tactics, hijab enforcers have been placed at universities across the country to prevent students who do not observe the compulsory dress code from entering campuses. Clashes between students and the hijab enforcers were also reported in the past several days.
“The brutal behavior and the presence of repressive forces at universities, the gender segregation of entrance gates for male and female students, the absolute disregard of the students’ rights, and finally the heavy presence of repressive forces in and around universities to deprive us from one of our most basic rights (the right to choose clothing) will not be tolerated any longer," added the statement.
The call for protest was issued by over a dozen groups and organizations formed by students from several cities, including those in Esfahan (Isfahan) University, Esfahan University of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares Beheshti, Al-Zahra and Sanandaj universities, as well as the University of Tehran.
A sit-in by the students of Yazd University
Iran's universities were one of the main centers of protests during the nationwide uprising following the death of Mahsa Amini in custody of hijab police in September 2022. In order to suppress the protests, the security force repeatedly attacked the universities and arrested hundreds of students. A large number of students have also been banned, expelled and suspended by university administrators.
According to Iran’s Student Union Council on Tuesday, more than 430 students have been suspended or expelled following the recent protests across the country “through an illegal process.”
The US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) says that 637 students from 144 universities have been arrested since mid-September. There are other sources which have put the number at well over 700.
Earlier in the month, the ministry of higher education announced that universities will no longer offer educational, welfare and other services to the students who disregard the hijab.
Earlier in the week, the student organizations of the University of Arts called the new measures "cheap, insulting and intolerable.” Many female students have received warning text messages, as the country announced new surveillance measures to catch hijab rebels this week.
The students are angry about the regime’s crackdown but have repeatedly announced that they would not back down from their newly achieved freedom.