Women’s rights activists in Iran participated in protests yesterday commemorating International Women’s Day, despite recent detainments of Iranian feminists. News sources are offering conflicting reports of yesterday’s activities. The Los Angeles Times reports that about 50 peaceful protestors were “quickly confronted and overwhelmed by riot police, including dozens of young female officers wearing bright green uniforms with red stripes.” Eight women and two men were reportedly arrested, and several protestors sustained beatings, according to the Los Angeles Times. Reuters and the Inter Press Service, however, report that several hundred activists attended the protest outside of the Iranian parliament and were attacked by police, though no one was seriously hurt nor arrested.
On Sunday, more than 30 women’s rights activists were arrested for protesting the detainment and trial of four feminist activists. All but three of those arrested on Sunday have been released, after being told not to participate in International Women’s Day activities.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iranian women’s rights activist Shirin Ebadi is promoting a new campaign, “Change for Equality,” which aims to increase awareness of the need for reform in Iran, where women and men are legally unequal. Dr. Ebadi and Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan issue a joint statement Wednesday, calling for an end to all discrimination against women in Iran. “We know there is a direct relationship between peace, justice, and respect for human rights. As long as women are denied human rights, anywhere in the world, there can be no justice and no peace,” Ebadi and Khan stated. “Recognizing women’s equal rights, therefore, is an essential requirement for the creation of strong, sustainable, and stable societies and ensuring that women enjoy equality with men in all areas of life are key steps to making human rights a universal reality.”