NEW YORK – Police used batons to attack a gathering of more than 700 Iranians who had taken to the streets of Tehran today to mark International Women’s Day. Fortunately, there were no reports of arrests or serious injuries.
“While we are relieved that no arrests were made today, we call for the immediate release of three women activists who remain in prison since Sunday’s protests when 33 activists were initially detained,” said Archi Pyati, a Senior Associate with Human Rights First. “Their continued detention, and other repression suffered by those who seek to advance women’s equality in Iran flies in the face of the universal values for which International Women’s Day stands.”
On Sunday, March 4, Iranian police arrested and jailed 33 women gathered in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The women were peacefully supporting five women scheduled to be tried for participating in a demonstration last year. As of today, all but three women have been released. They are well-known human rights defenders Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Shadi Sadr and Jila Bani Yaghoub. Human Rights First and thousands of its supporters are calling for the immediate release of these activists
The Iranian authorities have prevented or broken up several peaceful public gatherings organized by advocates for women’s rights in the last year. They have also blocked access within Iran to a website featuring dialogue about women’s rights, a petition demanding equality for women in Iranian law, and to a petition calling for an end to the practice of stoning to death.