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AUTHORITIES REFUSED IRANIAN WOMEN DEMONSTRATIONS

By Safa Haeri
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004

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"Today, because of the situation of women, the discrimination they face, I am wearing black not only for women in my country but also around the world", Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace laureate said in a debate on women's rights held in Geneva.

 

TEHRAN, 8 Mar. (IPS) Iranian Police and security forces, acting on orders from the government of President Mohammad Khatami, prevented Monday violently a meeting of Iranian women that was to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

Sources from the organizers said Police and Islamic vigilante in plainclothes attacked the peaceful demonstration that despite having been authorized was stopped at a last minute, the authorities having changed their mind without explanation.

The meeting was to be held at a public park at five in the afternoon, but security and Police forces, backed by the basij volunteers, had sealed the whole area two hours before the start of the manifestations, preventing participant to enter the park, sources told Iran Press Service."We asked the Police to show us a written order from the Interior Ministry forbidding the demonstrations, as we had received authorizations days before, but they refused, insisting that they have been instructed not to allow the meeting to go ahead as planned", one angry organizer said, adding that with more participants arriving at the meeting place, the vigilante went violent, starting to disperse the crowd, beating them indiscriminately with clubs, stopping journalists from coming close to the scene.

"Today, because of the situation of women, the discrimination they face, I am wearing black not only for women in my country but also around the world", Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace laureate said in a debate on women's rights held in Geneva.

As in Tehran the authorities were breaking out with violence Iranian women demonstration, Mrs. Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist, blamed discrimination against women in her native country, blaming it on the patriarchal nature of society, rather than Islam or religion.

"This patriarchal culture is a tribal culture. Not only does it not accept women, it does not tolerate democracy", she said.

Before the debate began, the 2003 Nobel peace laureate told a news conference that the feminist movement in Iran has "depth and staying power".

"Although 63 percent of university students were women in Iran, well above higher education rates for men, women suffered unemployment at a rate 18 percent higher than men, she noted, observing that women needed their husband's permission to get a passport, while in Iranian courts two women witnesses were needed to match the testimony of a man.

"A man can without explanation divorce, but it is near impossible for women", Mrs. Ebadi added, quoted by Reuters news agency.

"Unfortunately, in Islamic countries the situation for women isn't what it should be and they suffer for it". ENDS WOMEN DEMO STOPPED 8304

 


 
AUTHORITIES REFUSED IRANIAN WOMEN DEMONSTRATIONS
 


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