Dubai, December 4
Protesters in Iran on Sunday called for a three-day strike, stepping up pressure on the authorities even as the public prosecutor said the morality police, whose detention of a young woman triggered months of protests, had been disbanded.
The hijab row
- Women-led protests have swept Iran since a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by the morality police
- Demonstrators have refrained from wearing the hijab, which is mandatory in Iran, particularly in parts of Tehran
There was no such confirmation from the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the morality police. Iranian state media said Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force. Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would not change the Islamic Republic’s hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear headscarves, despite 11 weeks of protests against strict Islamic regulations.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the unrest which erupted in September after the custodial death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police for flouting the hijab rules. Protesters have called for a three-day economic strike and a rally to Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square on Wednesday, according to Twitter posts.
President Ebrahim Raisi is due to address students in Tehran the same day to mark Student Day in Iran. Similar calls for strike and mass mobilisation have in the past weeks escalated the unrest with some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks. On Saturday, Public Prosecutor Montazeri was cited by semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency as saying the morality police had been disbanded.
“The same authority which has established this police has shut it down,” he was quoted as saying. He said the morality police were not under the judiciary’s authority, which “continues to monitor behavioural actions at the community level”. — Reuters
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