The 1979 demonstrations against Compulsory Hijab in Iran

Some well-known — and stirring — photos show large demonstrations in Iran against compulsory hijab, on 8 March 1979 and there are more photos here.

But I just found a great colour video which make it clear the demonstrations continued for many more days:

The Revolutionary spirit of the times is evident, with women declaring that “freedom is not Eastern or Western”.

They had, they said,  not risked their lives fighting on the streets against the Shah, to now be forced to wear hijab.  Women spoke of how: “We did not have a revolution to go back”. There was a strong feeling of “Either death or freedom!”

And there was recognition that: “First they will impose the hijab, and then there will be other restrictions”.

The women were not only demonstrating against the hijab. They wanted equal rights more generally, with equal pay, and freedom of association with men.

But the women knew that the Islamic authorities had strict control over state media. This meant that even these huge demonstrations were not covered on TV.

I  thought two of the veiled women in the demonstration were especially interesting. They did NOT think that everyone should follow their own personal choice. One woman said she hoped her six daughters would NOT grow up to be veiled. Sadly, we know now that her wish did not come true.

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