At least 33 Iranian women activists were arrested yesterday during a peaceful protest in Tehran. The women are members of a group called Mourning Mothers, which was formed after the widely publicized death of Neda Agha-Soltan last summer. Members of the group are mothers of protestors who have been killed, detained, or are missing. According to the Straits Times, the women regularly gather in the park where they were arrested to protest, typically wearing black as a sign of mourning.
According to the Mourning Mothers website, an unidentified witness said, “They would not allow anyone to even sit on the benches or congregate…After about 70 mothers entered the park, security forces engaged them and started chasing them, grabbing them, and forcing them into police vans. They used a lot of violence and insults in the process,” reported CNN.
Arrests continue in Iran against women’s activists. In December, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi’s sister; a professor in dentistry, Noushin Ebadi; Mansoureh Shojaee, a founder of the One Million Signatures campaign for women’s equality in Iran; and Morteza Kazemian, a journalist, were arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents. Somayeh Rashidi, also with the One Million Signatures Campaign, was also targeted with a search of her home and a summons to court.
The One Million Signatures Campaign, which seeks to collect one million signatures against the legal discrimination women face under Iranian law, has been particularly targeted. A number of activists associated with the campaign have been arrested and imprisoned in recent years, including American graduate student and feminist activist Esha Momeni.