Various civic and popular organizations in Iran are joining the chorus of support for students in Tehran who have been staging protests against stricter hijab.
Support for defiance of stricter hijab by students who staged a sit-in against wearing a hood-like head covering Wednesday and condemnation of violence against them is growing.
Students in several other universities across the country and various social and political groups have expressed solidarity with the students at University of Art in Tehran.
A statement released by a group of Tehran University students Saturday told the authorities that "the policy of maximum repression” they have adopted in universities will ultimately fail “like other forms of repression” used against Iranian people.
Protesting students at the University of Art and their supporters released a short statement Sunday, which addressing the authorities, said students had “nothing to tell them except one word: NO!” and insisted that they would continue “to fight for freedom”.
Male and female plainclothes agents abducted at least ten students from the campus on Saturday and took them to an unknown location without any interference from police special forces who were present around the university. Student sources said all but two of the detained students were freed Sunday.
Students had been protesting new rules that require women to wear a pullover headscarf with stitched front (called Maghna’e in Iran) which is like a nun’s coif, completely covering the head and the neck. Failing to comply, the university has said, would result in suspension.
According to the popular Telegram channel of the National Student Unions Council, at about 2:30 am Thursday, Hamzeh Borzouei attacked a group of about fifty students who had begun a sit-in protest.
Iranian Writers’ Association in a statement published Friday supported the students’ action and said authorities and those who carry out their orders of repression will be responsible for any harm to the students.
In recent months, security and intelligence organs have increased pressure on students for hijab, presumably to stop the growth of the anti-compulsory hijab movement in universities across the country and suspended dozens of students.
In June Sepideh Rashno, a 29-year-old anti-compulsory hijab activist, said in an Instagram post that Al-Zahra University of Tehran had suspended her for two semesters. Rashno was tortured in detention into making a televised “confession” and condemning other activists as well as expressing regret for her confrontation with a hijab enforcer on a city bus in July last year and posting a video of the incident on social media.
Authorities have also been trying to isolate artists who supported the Woman, Life, Freedom movement or defied hijab rules.
Entekhab news website Saturday published the image of a letter from an official regulating the film industry, Habib Ilbeigi, to the chairman of film producers’ union in which filmmakers are ordered not to employ actors and others who have defied the hijab “or personally face the consequences” including refusal of a screening permit.
Police chief, Ahmad-Reza Radan, said earlier this week that the government of President Ebrahim Raisi has approved extra funds to install more hijab surveillance cameras and that four special task groups have been launched to continue the war against hijab rebellion including one that will monitor social media platforms to identify those who publish photos of themselves without hijab.
Anti-hijab and anti-regime protests erupted in Iran in September 2022 after Mahsa Amini, a young woman was arrested in the street by the notorious ‘morality police’ and received fatal head injuries during here detention and later died in hospital.