Iranian morality police fired warning shots after crowd prevents arrest of women without hijab

Iranian “morality police” were forced to fire warning shots when a crowd intervened to prevent them from arresting two women for not wearing a hijab.

The incident occurred in Tehran’s northeastern Narmak neighbourhood on Friday night, and ended with a mob tearing the door off a police vehicle, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

“Morality patrol police members had warned two young women who did not have proper hijab. Within a few minutes, a group of citizens gathered around to prevent the transfer of the two women [into custody],” a police official told the agency.

“When the two women left the car, the crowd also dispersed, and the issue was over,” the official said.

Video of the incident posted on social media shows a large crowd shouting and cars using their horns before a series of shots are heard.

A picture of the dismembered car door later circulated on Twitter. The morality police – officially known as the Gasht-e Ershad, or guidance patrol – will stop and sometimes detain women, and occasionally men, they consider to be violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress codes.

Under Iran’s hijab rules women are obliged to follow a dress code including a headscarf, trousers, and a loose jacket while in public. Men are also expected to dress modestly.

Over the years the law has been enforced with varying strictness, with periods of relative tolerance interspersed with severe crackdowns on “bad hijab”.

In recent years, many women have challenged the law by wearing headscarves on the back of the head to reveal the front of their hair, using makeup, or choosing shorter jackets, especially in affluent parts of northern Tehran.

Some use a smart phone app that warns users when a morality police patrol is in the area.

In February 2018 Iran said it had arrested 29 women who removed their hijab at a series of protests against the law in Tehran.

Holly Dagres, a non resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and the editor of the Iran Source blog, said: “We’ve seen this kind of push back for years – women yelling at the morality police and telling them to p— off, and members of the public sometimes intervening.

“These situations are becoming more and more prevalent because social media is there to document what is going on and that gives more Iranians an incentive to push back.

Source » telegraph

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