A video of a teenage girl in Tehran being violently arrested by police after playing with water guns has sparked fury in Iran, once again exposing Islamic Republic’s draconian laws.
The video first published by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist, who campaigns against mandatory hijabs, went viral on Iranian social media networks, and prompted floor of Iranian 30 lawmakers to draft a letter calling on the Minister of Interior to answer for the violent behavior of his officers.
In the video, around half a dozen plainclothes officers are shown trying to arrest a young girl with one of the officers forcefully pushing her into a police car as the 15-year-old girl shouts and attempts to resist.
The video shows the officer grabs the girl by her blouse and throws her into the car. He appears to punch her at least twice after she is bundled into the vehicle.
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سلام اینجا تهرانپارس و این رفتار خشونتآمیز پلیس به جرم #آب_بازی . کتک زدند بردند برای چی؟ تفنگ آبپاش هم باعث خشونته؟ #دوربين_ما_اسلحه_ما شده برای افشای این رفتارهای غیرانسانی. از تمام هنرمندان و سلبریتیها وچهرههای مشهور مردمی دعوت کنیم صدای این زنان باشند که دوربینهای شان علیه خشونت بالا میرود اما در داخل سانسور میشوند. مهمتر از همه چند زن همین الان در زندان هستند چون مسالمت آمیز به مترو رفتند و به زنان با حجاب گل دادند و از زندان هم پیام فرستادند که ما ایستادهایم… چرا ما مردم نباید حامی هم باشیم ؟ #دوربین_ما_اسلحه_ما #چهارشنبه_های_سفید #دختر_تهران_پارس
Police said the girl, who was playing water games with her male and female friends in a park in eastern Tehran, had been “violating the moral codes.” A friend of the teenager who filmed the video can also be heard shouting.
A friend of the victim who saw the arrest told Alinejad they were “extremely afraid.”
“My three friends and I were in a park playing with water guns with some other people. Suddenly someone told us the police were coming and everyone ran away but two of my friends and I got stuck there. We thought the police would just give us a warning or something, but they beat my friend up, pulled her hair and arrested her because she argued with them.
We were extremely afraid and just looking for a way to run away. If you were in our shoes, you would never leave your house again. “
Tehran police told a local TV station that a group of teenagers “made a scene and insulted our agents” after being told to respect public moral and civil codes. Two officers were suspended the next day by the police chief commander, but the suspensions were withdrawn soon after.
Police did not clarify whether the teenage girl had been arrested for playing water games or for wearing her veil too loosely. The expression “immoral behavior” is often broadly used by authorities to justify an arrest.
Several state TV channels suggested that the incident had been staged by Western governments in an attempt to embarrass the Iranian police.
Iran has enforced strict dress codes for women since the revolution, and the country’s Islamic leaders rely on the so-called morality police and vigilantes to ensure that women are wearing the compulsory hijab.