Hundreds of protesters remain in jail as Iran announces release of detainees

Second woman 'arrested' in Tehran for hijab protest

Second woman 'arrested' in Tehran for hijab protest

In late December, the government announced that women in the Iranian capital of Tehran would no longer be arrested if caught with their heads uncovered.

Some have posted hijab-less photos on a Facebook page founded by exiled journalist Masih Alinejad, whose call for women to wear white scarves and protest the hijab on Wednesdays appears to have been behind Movahedi's protest.

Public concern mounted for Movahedi's safety after reports of her arrest, particularly with the authorities clamping down on protests and possible dissenters as antiestablishment unrest spread to dozens of Iranian cities in late December and early January.

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.

Many Iranians, including men, changed their social media profile pictures to images inspired by Movahed's protest, and shared a hashtag that translated as "the girl of Enghelab Street". The woman was identified as Vida Movahed, a 31-year-old woman. Both Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei support softer attitude toward women with improper hijab, though hard-liners opposed to easing such rules still dominate Iran's security forces and judiciary.

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Referring to the avenue where the woman took off her headscarf, Sotoudeh wrote: "The girl of the Enghelab Avenue has been released".

"This should be seen as part of a larger struggle of Iranian women for equality and to have control over their own bodies, and can even be traced back to women's resistance of forced unveiling during the reign of Reza Shah", said Sussan Tahmasebi, an Iranian women's rights activist.

According to author Mona Eltahawy, "a total of 6 women made the same symbolic gesture: taking off their head scarves in public & waving them on a stick, emulating a young woman who climbed on the same sort of utility box on Dec.27 & was subsequently arrested", she said on Twitter Tuesday.

Rights lawyer Sotoudeh said the protests were an indication that many women are fed up with the obligatory hijab and predicted they would continue. Despite the fear of reprisals, millions of women in Iran defy the restrictions on a daily basis.

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